Published On: Mon, May 8th, 2023

SC calls Manipur violence ‘humanitarian issues’; asks Centre, State to take necessary steps

New Delhi: Concerned over the loss of lives and properties, the Supreme Court on Monday asked the Centre and the Manipur government to take necessary steps for raising security and relief and rehabilitation efforts for those hit by ethnic violence in the north-eastern state, after taking note of submissions that no untoward incidents have been reported there in the last two days.

The bench asked how many relief camps have been set up and how many people are lodged there

Terming the aftermath of the violence ‘humanitarian issues’, a bench headed by Chief Justice DY Chandrachud emphasised that due arrangements must be made in the relief camps and the people sheltered there be provided with basic amenities like food, ration and medical facilities.

“We are concerned very deeply about the loss of lives and properties,” the apex court observed. The bench, also comprising Justices PS Narasimha and JB Pardiwala, directed all necessary steps be taken for rehabilitation of those displaced and adequate efforts for protecting places of religious worship.

Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, appearing for the Centre and the state government, informed the bench about the steps taken to deal with the situation. He said 52 companies of central armed police forces, besides Army and Assam Rifles contingents have been deployed in the violence-hit areas of Manipur.

Flag marches are being conducted in disturbed areas and peace meetings held, he told the bench. Mehta said a senior former police officer has been appointed as the security advisor by the state government and another top officer, who was on central deputation, has been repatriated on Sunday to serve as the chief secretary of Manipur. He said a constant vigil is being maintained and helicopters and drones are being used to monitor the situation.

Mehta said relief camps are operational for those displaced and security forces are facilitating the movement of stranded people. The solicitor general said no violence has been reported in last two days and, gradually, the situation is returning to normal. Curfew was also relaxed for a few hours on Sunday as well as today. Regarding some concerns flagged by the counsel appearing for the petitioners, Mehta said they shall be duly taken note of and required remedial steps initiated by the authorities.

The bench, while taking note of Mehta’s submissions, posted the pleas related to the ethnic violence for further hearing on May 17, and asked the Centre and the state to file updated status reports. During the hearing, the bench asked how many relief camps have been set up and how many people are lodged there.

“We would like to know what kind of arrangements have been made in these relief camps because these are humanitarian issues,” the bench observed.

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