Manipur to continue biometric collection of illegal immigrants
Manipur Chief Minister N Biren Singh

Imphal: In a press briefing, Manipur Chief Minister N Biren Singh on Monday strongly condemned a recent report by a fact-finding team from the Editors Guild of India regarding media coverage of the crisis in the state. He also expressed his dissatisfaction with the composition and actions of the team.

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CM Biren Singh stated that an FIR has been lodged against Seema Guha, Sanjay Kapoor, Bharat Bhusan, and the president of the Editors Guild of India in connection with their report.

He criticised the fact-finding team for prematurely drawing conclusions on the crisis and accused them of exacerbating the situation. CM Singh emphasised that such teams should be composed of knowledgeable and balanced individuals.

The chief minister questioned the team’s understanding of the North East, Manipur’s history, and the complexity of the situation, suggesting that they should wait for the investigations of various committees to conclude before making judgments.

He also pointed out flaws in the report and expressed disappointment that the team members lacked a sufficient understanding of the Indian Forest Act.

Regarding the eviction of houses from Reserved Forest areas, Singh clarified that it was carried out for the welfare of the general public to protect against poppy plantation and global warming. He provided statistics on the affected houses belonging to different communities.

He added that it is unfortunate that they have claimed that eviction was carried out against only one community and explained that between 2015 and 2023 altogether 413 houses were evicted from Reserved Forest (Protected Forest) areas for the welfare of the general public to protect from poppy plantation and global warming.

The 413 houses include only 59 houses of Kuki community, 143 Meitei houses, 137 Meitei Pangal houses, 38 Naga houses and 36 Nepali houses, he added.

Singh accused the fact-finding team of being anti-establishment and attempting to spread communal discord. He called for equal treatment and consolation of both affected communities.

He mentioned human rights violations in other states and questioned the silence on those issues, emphasising that the government condemned all forms of violence.

The chief minister urged not to politicise the crisis and assured that the government’s actions would speak for themselves. He emphasised the government’s objective of safeguarding and protecting the land.

Singh also mentioned reports of threats and statements made by certain individuals and warned against such actions, stating that the government was working to maintain peace and control violence.

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He called on all the people of the state to work together for peace and reassured that all constitutional measures would be taken.

Additionally, CM Biren Singh mentioned the collection of biometric details and the request for an extension to complete the task.

The press briefing was also attended by Minister Govindas Konthoujam, Minister Dr Sapam Ranjan Singh, Minister Thounaojam Basanta Kumar Singh, MLA Joykisan Singh.

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