Death toll in Imphal valley reaches 31

Imphal: While no official figures of casualties in violence-hit Manipur over the last two days have been publicly made available by the State government, Ukhrul Times have learned that the number of dead count in Regional Institute of Medical Sciences, Imphal (RIMS) morgue has reached 18, while the number of bodies brought in to Jawaharlal Nehru Institute of Medical Sciences, Imphal (JNIMS) has climbed to 13 as of Friday, according to JNIMS medical superintendent and RIMS morgue.

However, identification of the bodies is not available at the time of filing this report. The number of casualties in other parts of Manipur arising out of the ethnic violence between the Kuki tribals and Meitei/Meetei community is feared to be much higher.

Related | Centre takes over Manipur security; new Police head takes charge; broadband shut; death toll in valley climbs to 12

The Centre government on Thursday in the wake of unprecedented widespread violence in Manipur promulgated Article 355 in Manipur to take charge of security matters with immediate effect.

While the Governor of Manipur, under the prevailing law and order situation authorized “Shoot at Sight” orders under extreme cases on Thursday, Telecom services (Mobile data/internet), including broadband services operational in the entire jurisdiction of Manipur was suspended for five days.

The State government also clamped curfew under Section 144 CrPC in various districts of Manipur after violence broke out on Thursday.

Must read | Motbung locals take shelter in Awang Sekmai; victims appeal state govt to bring permanent solution

Manipur chief minister N Biren Singh Thursday morning appealed people of the State, under the prevailing tense law and order situation for restoration of peace and harmony. In his appeal, N Biren Sing said that some parts of Imphal, Moreh, Bishnupur, Churachandpur and Kangpokpi, which he called “sensitive areas” in the State witnessed violence, vandalism and arson between two communities (Meitei/Meetei and Kuki communities) which N Biren maintained, is due to “misunderstanding and communication gap”. He also said that 35 ethnic communities in the Sate have been living in harmony since time immemorial.

Must read | NPMHR appeals for immediate cessation of violence in Manipur

Meanwhile, the Naga Peoples Movement for Human Rights (NPMHR) in light of the tragic events unfolding in Manipur has appealed for immediate cessation of violence. The Naga rights watchdog called upon all community leaders and the elected legislators to immediately take action to de-escalate the volatile situation and resume dialogue and negotiations with the stakeholders.

It is worth noting that, amidst the ongoing demand and opposition to accord ST-status to the Meitei/Meetei community, acting Chief Justice of the High Court of Manipur, Justice M.V. Muralidharan on April 19, 2023 issued a notification directing the Manipur government to submit a recommendation to the Tribal Affairs Ministry, the government of India, for the inclusion of the Meitei/Meetei community in the scheduled Tribe list of the Indian Constitution.

Also read | Naga Legislators in Manipur appeal to end violence, calls for public cooperation

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