03/01/2024, 17.36
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Manipur: 219 people dead, billions in damages and losses after 10 months of violence

by Nirmala Carvalho

In her address to the state Legislative Assembly, Governor Anusuiya Uikey assessed the situation following months of interethnic strife between Meitei and Kuki. Some 10,000 First Information Reports have been filed in connection with the violence. Compensation has been paid to victims’ families. For Archbishop Lumon, the latter is important but the “situation remains difficult.” It is unclear whether churches and businesses will be compensated.

Imphal (AsiaNews) – The Indian state of Manipur has been embroiled in interethnic violence since May last year with 219 people killed and revenue losses to the exchequer to the tune of eight billion Indian rupees (US$ 96 million), this according to Manipur Governor Anusuiya Uikey in her address to the state’s Legislative Assembly.

“It is unfortunate that due to the violence 219 persons have lost their lives,” she told state lawmakers. “Those families who have lost their dear ones are being given compensation of ₹10 lakh[*] each based on verification. Bodies of victims have been given to their families and their last rites performed,” she added.

Governor Uikey also told the House that 198 companies of the Central Armed Police (CAPF) and 140 army columns have been deployed in the state to maintain public order.

She reported that an audit of weapons stolen during the looting of government warehouses has been done, noting that the missing armament is being progressively recovered.

About 187,143 people have been detained in the state since May 2023 as a preventive measure and were released after legal formalities. About 10,000 First Information Reports (FIRs) have been filed in connection with the ethnic violence.

“For transparent and independent investigation, the government has transferred 29 cases to the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) and one to the National Investigation Agency (NIA). The pis underway to hand over four more cases to the CBI and another five to the NIA,” Uikey said.

Each person displaced by the violence received a thousand rupees (US$ 12) three times to meet their clothing and other needs.

So far, the state government has spent two billion rupees (US$ 24 million) on relief operations, and is hopeful that the Union (federal) Home Affairs Ministry will reimburse the state, which is struggling to cope with the added financial burden.

Archbishop Emeritus Dominic Lumon of Imphal spoke to AsiaNews about the governor’s statement.

"The government is doing its best to bring the situation back to normal, so the fact that on the first day of the session of the Manipur Assembly, the head of the state addressed the issue was a welcome thing,” said the prelate. “However, society itself is divided, internal dissent and disagreements are still present. The situation remains very difficult."

Other local sources told AsiaNews that the figure of 219 dead is the official one, and does not include all possible deaths.

The government is worried about revenue losses but no assessment has been made of the damage, the destruction of homes, churches, and the loss of livelihoods.

“Despite repeated appeals, no guarantees have been offered by the authorities on this..."


[*] One million rupees, US$ 12,000.

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