The Supreme Court has asked the Centre and Manipur government to increase relief and rehabilitation efforts for those affected by ethnic violence. The court has also requested the protection of places of worship that were targeted during the violence. The Centre has informed the court that no incidents have been reported in the last two days, and the situation is slowly returning to normal. Over 50 people have been killed in violent clashes between tribes living in the Manipur hills and the majority Meitei community over their demand for Scheduled Tribe status. More than 23,000 people have been rescued and sheltered in military garrisons and relief camps.
The Supreme Court emphasized that relief camps must provide basic amenities like food, ration, and medical facilities. The court cannot take action but expressed its concerns about the loss of life and property. The authorities should ensure that due arrangements are made in relief camps for providing all basic amenities and make an effort for rehabilitation of those displaced and protect places of religious worship. The Centre has deployed 52 companies of central armed police forces, Army, and Assam Rifles contingents in the violence-hit areas of Manipur. Relief camps have been opened for displaced persons where ration and medical help are being provided.
The Solicitor General Tushar Mehta informed the bench about the steps taken to deal with the situation. He said helicopters and drones are being used to monitor the situation in addition to extensive deployment of security forces. The situation is gradually returning to normalcy, and curfew was relaxed for a few hours during the last two days. The CJI asked about the number of relief camps and what kind of arrangements are being made there. The bench also asked whether the government is trying to bring displaced people back to their homes gradually.
The Supreme Court was hearing a batch of pleas on the Manipur situation, including one by a ruling BJP MLA challenging the High Court order on the issue of Scheduled Tribe status to the Meitei community and a PIL by a tribal outfit for an SIT probe into last week’s violence.