The Government of India informed the Supreme Court that no violence has occurred in Manipur during the last two days and that normalcy has returned to the state on Monday, May 8. However, the Supreme Court asked the Government of India to make due arrangements for food and medicines in the relief camps. The Court further asked the Government of India to ensure steps are taken to rehabilitate displaced persons and protect places of worship.
The Government of India’s counsel, Solicitor General (SG) Tushar Mehta, informed the Court that 52 companies of Central Armed Police Forces (CAPF) and 105 columns of Army/Assam Rifles had been deployed in Manipur. Furthermore, the SG informed the Court that flag marches had been conducted in disturbed areas.
The SG also submitted that senior IAS officer Dr Vineet Joshi had been appointed Chief Secretary amid the emergency situation. Furthermore, he submitted that a senior police officer had been appointed security advisor.
The SG informed the Court that due to these measures, no violence has occurred in Manipur during the last two days and that normalcy has returned to the state. “On ground, army, paramilitary forces and other government authorities are working. Let everything calm down”, the SG said while requesting the Supreme Court to list the case for next week.
The Supreme Court was hearing a plea challenging the Manipur High Court’s order concerning Scheduled Tribe status for the Meitei community.
It was reported that the Supreme Court asked about the number of relief camps opened and the number of people stationed in those relief camps. The Court also asked about the provisions made for food and medicines in those relief camps. Furthermore, the Court asked about the provisions for rehabilitating people displaced during the violence and protecting places of worship. The SG informed the Court that the property of every person would be protected regardless of religion. The Court asked the Government of India to file a status report by May 17.
The petitioner’s counsel, Senior Advocate Colin Gonsalves, submitted to the Supreme Court that violence occurred in the state in the last three days. The counsel claimed, “Please see the killings and burnings that have taken place on Friday, Saturday, Sunday- when they’re saying everything was okay.” Further, the petitioner seeking urgent order to evacuate people from certain areas claimed more attacks would occur in the coming days.
However, the SG intervened and claimed that such statements may have an adverse impact. “Let us not say something which might have an adverse impact- intended or unintended”, the SG said. Furthermore, the Chief Justice of India, DY Chandrachud, told the petitioner’s counsel that the Court proceedings should not become an opportunity to “destabilise” and advised him not to read out the statements and flag the pages where the issues are highlighted.
“We are concerned very deeply about the loss of life, loss of property. We have expressed our concerns to the Government and have to leave it to the Government to take action”, CJI said. The SG assured the Court that the Government of India would address the petitioner’s concerns.