ST status to Meitei community or ‘drug game’ behind Manipur violence, Center told SC the real reason
New Delhi: After the violence in Manipur, now the situation in the state is slowly becoming normal, and life is coming back on track. About 60 people lost their lives in this violence, thousands were rendered homeless from their homes and property was damaged. When the violence broke out, it was clearly attributed to the anger of the local tribal community over the Manipur High Court granting ST status to the Meitei community. But now the affidavit given by the Central Government and the State Government in the Supreme Court has turned the matter in the other direction.
In fact, the central government has said in its reply in the Supreme Court that the real reason for this violence is the cultivation of opium by illegal Myanmar migrants and resistance to the crackdown on the ongoing drug trade in the hilly districts, and the Meitei community has been denied access to Scheduled Tribes. The agitation against the grant of tribal status was just a ploy. Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, appearing for both the Center and the State, said that the Manipur Bar Association’s statement about drug trade in the state by illegal immigrants from Myanmar is correct and the government is taking appropriate steps in this matter.
Illegal migrants from Myanmar cause violence in Manipur
Senior advocate Colin Gonsalves, appearing for the tribal community, said that tribals are being killed in the hilly areas, so they demand that the army be deployed in sensitive villages of some hilly districts. At the same time, the Kuki tribes alleged that the Meitei are being attacked. So senior advocates Sanjay Hegde and Jaideep Gupta, on behalf of the Meitei community, told the Supreme Court that Kuki militants are putting up barricades in some parts of the hill districts, to prevent people from traveling. The Supreme Court bench had to say that it cannot go into rival claims.
The bench asked the state chief secretary and security advisor to look into the apprehensions of the tribals and the Meitei community and take steps towards “restoring peace” in the state. At the same time, Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, keeping his point, said that the Supreme Court’s say on the legality of the dispute between two tribes on the Scheduled Tribe status can adversely affect the normalcy in the state. Accepting this suggestion, the bench asked the tribal community to impersonate itself as a party before the High Court on the matter. However, the Supreme Court has asked the state government to file a fresh status report when it hears it again in July.
What does the statistics of drug trade in Manipur say?
Various types of drugs worth 136.93 crore have been seized in 2022-23 and 4305 acres of illegal opium cultivation has been destroyed as part of the campaign against drug addiction by the Manipur government. The report states that between January and March this year, 787 acres of opium cultivation was destroyed and rapid action is going on. At the same time, in the last 5 years i.e. between 2017-22, narcotics worth about 317.97 crores have been seized. During this period, about 14,359 acres of opium and 20 acres of cannabis cultivation were also destroyed. In this action, 1960 people including 366 women were detained in the last five years.
Tags: Manipur, Manipur violence, Why violence broke out in Manipur
FIRST PUBLISHED : May 18, 2023, 15:11 IST