Manipur violence: Interlocutor-led team meets tribal forum in Churachandpur district

Churachandpur: Amid the continued crisis in Manipur, interlocutor AK Mishra and his team on Thursday held a close door meeting with the Indigenous Tribal Leaders Forum (ITLF) in Churachandpur district.

As per sources, the main objective of the meeting was to review the last meeting held with Union Home Minister Amit Shah along with the representatives of the ITLF in New Delhi on August 8, 2023.

Dr. Mandeep Singh Tuli and AK Mishra from the Ministry of Home Affairs, along with Gnanasambandan and Churachandpur DC Dharun Kumar, attended the meeting in Imphal. Also present were Soiminthang Thangsing, Assistant Director IB Lamka.

The meeting discussed some of the vital issues and measures to be taken pertaining to the ongoing ethnic conflict in the state. 

During the meeting, the tribal forum discussed the pending burial site of the dead. According to sources, ITLF has given the responsibility of the burial to one of its internal department – the Joint Philanthropic Organisation (JPO). However, following a long meeting with the JPO over the burial, the govt continue to insist to change the burial site. 

As they could not come to a deadlock, the meeting was adjourned today and they will meet again on Friday, informed the source.

Meanwhile, ITLF also spoke about the breach of agreement in regards to the state police commando in Moreh. During the last meeting with Amit Shah in Delhi, the tribal forum, as per the source, demanded to remove the state forces completely from the hill areas. However, the Union Home minister said the center cannot fully remove the state forces but assured that the state forces act independently in the hill areas and that they should act in conjunction with the central forces. The government also admit the lapse in this process in Moreh and promised that such lapse will not happen in the future, it said.

In regards to political demand, AK Mishra, the interlocutor said the SoO group have submitted their demands and is pending approval from the government. He further stressed the need to create a conducive environment for the solution to progress. 

The interlocutor also urged the ITLF not to resort to violent means. ITLF leaders said they wanted to maintain peace but when they are provoked, they have no choice but to defend themselves, it said.

The tribal forum also spoke about the selective justice provided by NIA and CBI considering the recent arrests made by them. ITLF cited several cases that were not taken up by CBI which were more grusome like the beheading of David Thieks, the burning of tonsing and her mother inside an ambulance, the naked parade incident, the car wash incident, the attacked on MLA Vungzagin and his drivers among others. 

Joint Director Dr Mandeep Singh said that justice will come to everyone and assured to take up the cases with CBI and NIA.

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ITLF further expressed gratitude to the government for the release and transfer of jail inmates whose case are minor and further requests to complete the process for the remaining jail inmates. 

During the meeting, status of the relief support were also highlighted by the deputy commissioner and informed about the upcoming plans.

ITLF also spoke about their concerns of the thousands of arms that were looted and how these weapons which are in the hands of the civilians are not comforting. The leader of MHA said every efforts are being taken to collect these arms. And simillar exercise should be done in Churachandpur also, added the source.

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