Comprehensive action plan to fight Manipur militancy

April 27th, 2008 - 12:41 pm ICT by admin  

By Syed Zarir Hussain
Imphal, April 27 (IANS) With the northeastern state of Manipur becoming a lawless region as militants wreak havoc, the central government has called for a “comprehensive action plan” to fight militancy and suggested stern action against lawmakers hobnobbing with militants. A high-level central team led by union cabinet secretary K.M. Chandrasekhar reviewed the worsening security situation in Manipur for two days in capital Imphal and admitted there were problems plaguing the state.

“There are problems in Manipur and we discussed with officials of the state and the central government to work out a comprehensive formula for better coordination,” the cabinet secretary said before leaving for New Delhi late Saturday.

This was the fourth time this year that the cabinet secretary reviewed the security situation in Manipur.

The central team also included home secretary Madhukar Gupta, defence secretary Vijay Singh, besides senior officials of most of the key central ministries. Top commanders of the army and paramilitary, besides senior police and civil officials, attended the two-day security meet.

“We discussed how best to improve things. We will submit a report to the centre on the situation,” Chandrasekhar said.

The situation in Manipur has turned volatile with militants wreaking havoc despite a massive anti-insurgency operation on in the state.

Another significant issue that apparently came up for discussion during the security meeting was the alleged nexus between militants and legislators in Manipur.

“The issue of reports of linkages between some legislators with insurgent groups for buying peace came up for discussion,” a government source said requesting anonymity.

The state government had last November decided to immediately withdraw personal security guards from the house of any legislator if they were found providing shelter to militants.

The decision was taken earlier at a meeting chaired by the chief minister and the orders passed on to all ministers and legislators in the 60-member assembly. The warning follows a series of police raids on official residences of legislators in Imphal last month and arrests of hardcore militants sheltered by such lawmakers.

Meanwhile on Thursday, four people were injured when a powerful explosion took place at the high-security Babupara area in Imphal that houses the residences of Chief Minister Okram Ibobi Singh and other VIPs.

Such is the situation that the chief minister was forced to admit the reign of terror unleashed by militants.

“Militants are even forcibly taking a percentage from donations and offerings given in the name of god to various temples in the state,” the chief minister said earlier this month at a public meeting.

“Temple committees had earlier charged Rs.30 per head for religious feasts but today the rates have been hiked to Rs.50 with militant groups collecting Rs.5 to Rs.10 per head as commission,” Singh said.

Capital punishment meted out by militant groups in Manipur has now become almost routine - from drug peddlers to alleged corrupt officials, rebels in the state have virtually taken the law into their own hands.

Last month an engineer working for Manipur Public Works Department, Keisam Nabachandra, was shot dead by militants in front of his wife and daughters, while 15 Hindi-speaking migrant workers were killed in a string of attacks with police blaming the outlawed Kanglei Yawol Kanna Lup (KYKL) for the killings.

In most of these incidents, militants have killed victims after they either refused to pay extortion money or simply ignored their warnings.

Now even doctors are under threat with the state’s premier facility, the Regional Institute of Medical Sciences (RIMS), contemplating shutting down doors following threats by the outlawed Kangleipak Communist Party (KCP) to the institute director and the medical superintendent.

The rebel group has accused the two RIMS officials of accepting bribes during recruitments. Hospital employees for the past several days were staging demonstrations asking the militant group to withdraw the threat.

“If the terror tactics continue, we will be left with no alternative, other than closing the hospital,” said RIMS director L. Fimate.

The state of 2.4 million people is fast turning into a lawless region with militants dictating terms and where the civil administration virtually does not exist in many places.

There are 19 militant groups active in Manipur, bordering Myanmar, with demands ranging from secession to greater autonomy.

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