Imphal: Against a backdrop of heightened tension and a surge in refugees fleeing Myanmar, Manipur Chief Minister N Biren Singh addressed the complex challenges facing the northeastern state. Speaking at the Vijay Diwas programme, he navigated the delicate balance between extending humanitarian support to those in need and safeguarding the state against potential threats posed by illegal settlements.
CM Singh began by acknowledging the undeniable humanitarian duty to offer shelter to those seeking refuge on the grounds of the recent violence in Myanmar. Approximately 2,060 individuals have found temporary sanctuary in the border district of Kamjong, a testament to the porous 398-km-long border shared between Manipur and Myanmar. The Chief Minister underscored the need for meticulous data collection, emphasising the importance of biometric details to streamline the management of this influx.
“We cannot deny shelter on humanitarian grounds. The only thing is to have their biometric details taken and provide shelter to them temporarily. What we have been telling them is not to sneak into Manipur and set up illegal villages,” Singh asserted, encapsulating the nuanced approach required to address both the humanitarian crisis and potential security risks.
The refugees, primarily belonging to the Chin community with ethnic ties to Manipur’s Kukis, have been the focus of government efforts. Singh assured that essential provisions such as food, medicines, and tents are being provided to alleviate their immediate needs. Simultaneously, he issued a call for heightened vigilance from the police, recognising the delicate balance between compassion and the imperative to protect state boundaries.
Manipur has been grappling with internal strife, marked by ethnic tensions between the Meitei and Kuki communities, since May 3. The roots of this conflict trace back to a solidarity march organised by a tribal students union, resulting in over 180 casualties and thousands injured during the past seven months. A staggering 60,000 people have been internally displaced, creating a pressing need for comprehensive and sustained efforts to restore peace and harmony.
Expressing deep concern, Singh highlighted the role of social media in exacerbating communal mistrust, urging security officials to take decisive action. In response, he proposed the formation of a joint team comprising experts from the police, paramilitary forces, and the army. This collaborative effort aims to counteract propaganda and misinformation, fostering an environment conducive to rebuilding trust among communities.
As Singh commended the dedication of security forces in bringing peace to the state over the last six months, he underscored the need for a multifaceted strategy. The Chief Minister’s commitment to addressing the humanitarian crisis while safeguarding Manipur’s integrity is evident in his approach, navigating the intricate web of ethnic clashes, an influx of refugees, and the misuse of social media.
In conclusion, Manipur stands at a critical juncture, requiring a delicate and comprehensive approach to simultaneously address the immediate needs of refugees and navigate the complexities of internal ethnic strife. N Biren Singh’s leadership embodies the challenges and responsibilities incumbent upon a leader in times of crisis, advocating for compassion while ensuring the security and stability of the state.