New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Monday sought an updated status report from the State of Manipur regarding the present situation and measures taken to curb the violence in the State.
A bench of Chief Justice of India DY Chandrachud, Justices PS Narasimha and Manoj Misra directed the State to update the position regarding rehabilitation camps, recovery of arms and law and order.
The bench posted the matter for hearing on July 10 and asked the government to file a detailed status report.
The apex court was hearing a petition filed by the Manipur Tribal Forum, Delhi seeking the protection of the Kuki tribe by the Indian Army.
At the outset, senior advocate Colin Gonsalves, appearing for the Manipur Tribal Forum, told the bench that situation in Manipur has worsened.
Solicitor General of India, appearing for the State, however, told the apex court that the “situation is improving slowly, though slowly.” Solicitor General said that the curfew has been reduced to 5 hours a day, which indicates an improvement.
Civil police, Manipur Commandos, Indian reserve battalions and 114 companies of Central Armed Police Forces (CAPFs) are among those deployed in areas of violence in Manipur, he added.
Solicitor General also requested advocate Gonsalves, the counsel of Manipur Tribal Forum, to not give any communal angle like Christians or something as real human beings are being dealt with.
“My learned friend (Gonsalves) may not give this a communal angle- like Christians or something. Real human beings are being dealt with,” said Solicitor General.
He alleged that one leader from the Meitei group came to an interview hosted by Karan Thapar and gave open threats against Kukis.
“Last night, three tribals were killed and one was beheaded, the first beheading of tribals. These are the Meities, they are the dominant group… The Kukis are not attacking. The Kukis are in the villages defending. The armed groups are crossing the lines. Army released two press statements saying women gather in large numbers and stop the army and they are not allowed to do their duty and protect the people,” claimed Gonsalves.
Counsel appearing for Meities Organisation said that there should be an investigation into the source of assault weapons and the militant groups behind the violence.
“The suspicion is that the militants have come out of the shelters and are fighting, otherwise how will you explain the assault weapons. There should be a headcount of the militants. Union of India should look into this aspect,” he said.
The Manipur Tribal Forum filing an interlocutory application has that the Centre and State governments’ assurances to the apex court in the case concerning the recent outbreak of violence in Manipur are false and non-serious and it shall not rely on the “empty assurances” of governments.
The application asked for the protection of the tribe by the Indian Army saying the State and its Police force are not trusted by the tribe.
It sought the constitution of an SIT headed by former Assam police chief Harekrishna Deka and an ex-gratia payment of Rs two crore to the kin of each of those killed within three months.
The application also demanded a permanent government job for a member of the families of those slain.
The top court is seized the cases relating to the violence in Manipur and had sought status reports from the Centre and State on the relief and rehabilitation efforts for the people affected by the violence between Meitei and Kuki communities.
Earlier, the top court expressed concern over the loss of lives and properties in Manipur during the violence between the Meitei and Kuki communities and stressed taking adequate measures to restore normalcy there.
On March 27, the High Court directed the State to consider the inclusion of the Meitei community in the Scheduled Tribes list.
The violence in Manipur between the Hindu Meiteis and the tribal Kuki, who are Christians, erupted after a rally by the All Tribal Students Union of Manipur (ATSUM) on May 3.
Violence has gripped the entire State for over a month now and the Central government had to deploy paramilitary forces to bring the situation under control.
(With Agency Inputs)