Tuesday, September 26, 2023

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Centre Airlifts 5 RAF Companies Of CRPF To Violence-Hit Manipur

New Delhi : A total of five companies of the Rapid Action Force (RAF) of the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) were airlifted on Thursday to violence-hit Manipur on the directions of the Union home ministry.

Sources told ANI that the five RAF companies comprise more than 500 personnel who are experts in controlling riot situations. The RAF is a specialised wing of the CRPF to deal with riot and crowd control situations. As per the sources privy to the development, at least 10 more companies (nearly 1,000 personnel) of the CRPF will also be sent to Manipur very soon.

Currently, a total of 15 companies of the CRPF are already deployed in Manipur.

As Indian Army, Assam Rifles and CRPF personnel are already deployed in the violence-affected areas of Manipur, the MHA asked the CRPF to send RAF companies to the hilly State to maintain law and order.

Union Home Minister Amit Shah has spoken to Manipur Chief Minister N Biren Singh and taken stock of the situation in the state where law and order were disrupted after tribal groups took out rallies in several districts there, sources said.

In the telephonic conversation with the Manipur Chief Minister, the Home Minister was apprised of the present situation and the steps being taken by the state government to control it, said sources.

As per sources, the MHA has been closely monitoring the situation in Manipur, adding “adequate number of Army, Assam Rifles and other Central Armed Police Forces are deployed at the violence-torn areas to control the situation.”

“To tackle the worsening law and order situation after tribal groups took out rallies in several districts of Manipur, the state government has suspended mobile internet for five days. Along with a ban on large gatherings, a night curfew too has been imposed in several districts of the state”, the sources said.

In view of the situation, a curfew has been imposed in non-tribal-dominated Imphal West, Kakching, Thoubal, Jiribam, and Bishnupur districts, and tribal-dominated Churachandpur, Kangpokpi, and Tengnoupal districts.

The statement issued by the Manipur government said, “Internet services suspended in Manipur for five days amid incidents of fighting among youths, and volunteers of different communities as a rally was organised by All Tribals Students Union (ATSU) Manipur in protest against the demand for inclusion of Meitei/Meetei in the ST category.”

As far as the current situation is concerned, two issues in the state have led to the situation. First, CM Biren Singh’s move to protect the forest faces resistance from illegal immigrants and drug cartels, and the second is linked to the Manipur High Court’s recent direction to the State Government to consider the inclusion of Meitei in ST which has led to an outburst from the tribal community who are ST, added the sources.

Violence broke out during the ‘Tribal Solidarity March’ called by the All Tribal Student Union Manipur (ATSUM) in the Torbung area of Churachandpur district to protest the demand of non-tribal Meiteis, who dominate the Imphal Valley, for Scheduled Tribe (ST) status.

Thousands of tribals — who make up about 40 per cent of the state’s population — joined the processions, waved placards and raised slogans opposing ST status for the Meitei.

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