Situation tense; Article 355 invoked
IMPHAL/NEW DELHI: Union Home Minister Amit Shah on Friday again reviewed the situation in Manipur through a video conference meeting with state Chief Minister N Biren Singh and top officials in the state as well as the Centre.
A total of 10 more companies (nearly 1,000 personnel) of the Central Armed Police Forces (CAPF) were also dispatched to the violence-hit state earlier in the day on Friday following orders of the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA). The Home Minister was apprised in detail about the current situation in Manipur during a meeting via video conference, and Shah, who is closely monitoring each and every development in the state, asked officials to maintain peace as soon as possible however the situation is under control there, said sources.
In the wake of clashes reported in parts of Manipur, Shah on Friday cancelled all his programmes for the upcoming assembly elections in Karnataka.
Meanwhile, in view of the prevailing widespread unrest in Manipur, the Central Government has imposed Article 355 in the state to control the situation, top police officials said on Friday. Article 355 is a part of emergency provisions contained in the Constitution that empowers the Centre to take all necessary steps to protect a state against internal disturbances and external aggression. Director General of Manipur Police, P. Doungel while talking to the media said that after reviewing the overall situation, Article 355 has been imposed in the entire state allowing the Centre to take all necessary steps to bring the situation under control and protect the lives and properties of the people.
The police chief said that some miscreants looted arms from a police station in Bishnupur district and he urged them to return the arms and ammunition failing which stern action would be initiated against them. “The situation in Manipur is expected to be brought under control in a day or two,” the DGP said. Army and Assam Rifles continued to conduct flag marches in several trouble-torn districts of Manipur for the third day on Friday even as sporadic incidents were reported from different areas.
A defence spokesman on Friday said that flag marches were underway in several areas specially in the most volatile Churachandpur district. He claimed that the situation was brought under control in many areas through coordinated actions by all stakeholders.
“Indian Air Force undertook continuous sorties to carry additional Army and Paramilitary troops from two airfields in Assam employing C17 Globemaster and AN 32 aircrafts. Induction commenced on the night of Thursday and additional columns commenced domination with effect from the wee hours of Friday. Domination and evacuation of civilians of all communities from affected areas continued throughout the night,” the Defence PRO said.
The Manipur government on Thursday appointed Additional Director General of Police (Intelligence) Ashutosh Sinha as the overall Operational Commander to control the situation and bring normalcy in the state. Sinha on Friday said that 23 police stations, mostly in mountainous districts of the state, have been identified as most vulnerable and Army and central para-military forces were deployed in these police stations. The ADGP, accompanied by senior other police officials, told the media that over 20,000 affected people of different communities have been evacuated and sheltered in safer places. “We urge the people not to fall prey to any rumour and if they need any assistance contact the nearby police stations and the government authorities,” Sinha said.
Retired IPS officer Kuldiep Singh, a former CRPF Chief, has been appointed security advisor by the Manipur government. Meanwhile, more than five Deputy Inspector General (DIG) rank officers and seven senior superintendents of police (SSP) and SP-rank officers of the CRPF have been tasked to coordinate the deployment of various security forces in violence infested Manipur.
Various state governments of the north-eastern states are in touch with the Manipur authorities on the safety and security of the students and people belonging to different north-eastern states living in Manipur. Assam, Nagaland, Tripura, Meghalaya, Mizoram governments have set up 24 X 7 help lines for the benefit of the students and people living in Manipur.
The situation turned seriously volatile after thousands turned up for the ‘Tribal Solidarity March’ on Wednesday to oppose the demand for inclusion of the Meitei community in the Scheduled Tribe (ST) category. In view of the prevailing situation, the Manipur government on Thursday authorized all District Magistrates, Sub-Divisional Magistrates and all Executive Magistrates to issue ‘Shoot at sight orders’ in extreme cases.
As Indian Army and the Assam Rifles continue their efforts to evacuate and provide assistance to affected people in violence-hit Manipur, locals praised the efforts of security forces and thanked them for providing a “security blanket”. A video shared by Indian Army shows glimpses of families rescued from violence-hit areas and their stay within Army and Assam Rifles premises. As per the army a total of about 13,000 people have been provided accommodation within their campus.
In the video shared by the Army a local was appreciating the efforts of the Indian Army and specially the Sikh regiment. The local guy in the video said “I would like to thanks the Indian Army and specially the brother of the Sikh regiment for proving us the security blanket. Past two nights we had a sleepless night but last we were able to have a good sleep because of your security cover, efforts and professionalism and for that once again I would like to thank Indian Army.”
In the short video shared by the Indian Army, locals were seen taken care by the security forces inside the camps and shelter facilities, they were provided food and water along with the other necessary items. At last in the video number of small children and youth were seen cheering and thanking Indian Army. (Agencies)