The Manipur state cabinet in a meeting chaired by Chief Minister N Biren Singh on Saturday evening condemned the “unwanted actions” of central security forces on civilians during Friday’s exchange of fire where three people died, and over 50 were injured. It also resolved to apprise the Centre of the incident.
Key decisions of the cabinet, which reviewed the overall situation in the strife-torn northeastern state, included approving the extension of ‘Disturbed Area’ under controversial law Armed Forces Special Powers Act, which grants special powers to the Indian Armed Forces and the state and paramilitary forces in areas classified as “disturbed areas”, for another six months.
It also approved a permanent housing scheme for the people displaced during ethnic violence, which has continued for over four months now. The state will build houses wherever the atmosphere is conducive for violence-affected people to return to their original areas of residence. In the first phase, around 1,000 permanent houses would be constructed with an estimated cost of around Rs 75 crore. Rs 10 lakh will be spent on permanent houses, Rs 7 lakh on semi-permanent houses, and Rs 5 lakh on temporary houses.
The fund would be released in two equal instalments — 50 per cent prior to initiation of the construction, and the rest at a later date.
Around 4,800 houses have been burnt or damaged during the violence. Over 170 people have been killed, more than 700 injured, and over 70,000 people of different communities have been displaced, the Manipur government said.
Manipur will also have a compensation scheme for women victims and survivors of sexual assault and other crimes during the ethnic unrest in the state, which started on May 3 after protests against a Manipur High Court order that asked the state government to recommend Scheduled Tribe status for Meities snowballed into a full-blown ethnic conflict, the cabinet decided.
Meiteis account for about 53 per cent of Manipur’s population and live mostly in the Imphal valley, while tribals, including Nagas and Kukis, constitute 40 per cent and reside mostly in the hill districts.