'Not living up to expectations of public': CM Biren Singh admits government shortcomings after violence erupts in Manipur

The violence, which continued from Thursday night to Saturday morning, resulted in over 70 buildings being set on fire.

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Courtesy: ANI

A recent outbreak of violence in Jiribam district, Manipur, bordering Assam, has resulted in the destruction of homes and government offices, including two police posts and the Forest Department office. Over 230 residents from Mongbang, Lamlai Khunou, and nearby villages have fled to relief camps in Jiribam district headquarters. The violence was sparked on Thursday when the body of 59-year-old Soibam Saratkumar Singh was discovered with injuries inflicted by a sharp object. Following this, the Jiribam administration imposed prohibitory orders under Section 144 of the CrPC.

Escalating Violence and Government Response

The state government has deployed a large contingent of police, aided by an Indian Air Force helicopter, to control the situation. The violence, which continued from Thursday night to Saturday morning, resulted in over 70 buildings being set on fire. Many villagers are now taking refuge in the district's sports complex and Chindong Leikai School.

Congress MP Calls for Restraint

Manipur's newly elected Congress MP, Bimol Akoijam, has urged the public to remain calm. Emphasising the need for peace, Akoijam expressed concern over potential ethnic tensions and conspiracies aimed at prolonging the violence. He has been in contact with the Jiribam district administration to ensure the safety of residents' lives and properties.

Historical Context of the Violence

Since May 3rd last year, Manipur has been plagued by ethnic violence between the Meitei and Kuki-Zomis communities, resulting in over 200 deaths and displacing more than 50,000 people. The recent Lok Sabha election results added to the tension, with the BJP losing both seats in the state.

CM Biren Singh Acknowledges Failures

Chief Minister Biren Singh, in an interview with the Indian Express, admitted that both the state and central governments have failed to meet public expectations regarding law and order. He acknowledged the complexity of the violence last year, which hindered strict action against the conflicting groups, leading to widespread dissatisfaction. Singh took responsibility for the BJP's electoral defeat, attributing it to the government's shortcomings in addressing the law and order situation.

Addressing Future Challenges

Despite calls for his resignation, Chief Minister Biren Singh remains resolute. He stressed his commitment to addressing the issues faced by indigenous Manipuris, including the Nagas. Singh highlighted the importance of continued efforts to maintain peace and punish those attempting to destabilise the region.

Electoral Outcomes

In the recent Lok Sabha elections, Congress candidates emerged victorious in both Manipur's constituencies. Angomcha Bimol Akoijam, a professor at Jawaharlal Nehru University, won in Inner Manipur, while Alfred Kanangam Arthur secured the Outer Manipur seat, defeating candidates from the BJP and its ally, the Naga People's Front.

The ongoing violence in Manipur underscores the urgent need for effective governance and community harmony. As tensions persist, the state and central governments must work collaboratively to restore peace and meet the expectations of the people.