Published On: Wed, Nov 22nd, 2023

‘Violence in Manipur to continue till 4,000 looted weapons not recovered’

New Delhi: The Eastern Army Commander Lt Gen Rana Pratap Kalita has said that the ethnic clashes in Manipur are a “political problem” that can only be solved by a peaceful dialogue between the Meitei and Kuki communities, news agency PTI reported.

Both the communities have completely got polarised

He also said that the violence will not stop unless around 4,000 weapons, which were looted from security forces, are recovered from common people.

The Eastern Command General Officer Commanding-in-Chief also said that India is providing shelter to anyone from Myanmar seeking refuge, including common villagers, army or police, in Mizoram and Manipur, but not armed cadres of militant groups or drug traffickers.

“Our efforts have been to contain the violence and motivate both sides of the conflict to come for a peaceful resolution of the political problem. Because ultimately, there has to be a political resolution to the problem,” Kalita told reporters at an interaction organised by the Gauhati Press Club on Tuesday.

He said that the Indian Army’s initial aim was to carry out rescue and relief operations for the people who were displaced from their houses, and then to contain the violence, which they have been largely successful. However, he added that some sporadic incidents keep taking place here and there due to the polarisation between the two communities.

He said that the root cause of the clashes was the legacy issues between the three communities that live in the state – Meitei, Kuki and Naga. He pointed out that there had been conflicts between the Kukis and Nagas in the 1990s when almost 1,000 people were killed.

“What has happened now is that both the communities have completely got polarised. Though the level of violence has come down, more than 5,000 weapons were taken away from various police stations and other places.

“Out of that, only about 1,500 weapons have been recovered. So, around 4,000 weapons are still out. Till the time these weapons are out in society, this sort of sporadic violent activities will continue,” he said.

He also said that weapon smuggling along with drugs through the Indo-Myanmar border has been checked, although some isolated incidents may be there.

“But since 4,000 weapons are already out in the open, I think there is no requirement of weapons to come from outside,” he stressed.

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