A month after Manipur was engulfed in ethnic violence, only 18% of over 4,000 weapons, looted or taken away from police armouries have been surrendered with the authorities.
A month after Manipur was engulfed in ethnic violence, only 18% of over 4,000 weapons, looted or taken away from police armouries have been surrendered with the authorities, a senior government official told The Hindu.
During his four-day visit to the violence-hit State from May 29-June 1, Home Minister Amit Shah had appealed that all weapons be surrendered to the police failing which a combing operation will begin and strict action will follow against the offenders.
The weapons were looted in two phases. In the first phase when violence erupted on May 3, around 1,600 weapons were robbed and in the second phase, from May 27-28, ahead of Mr. Shah’s visit to the State, 2,557 weapons were looted. Most weapons were looted from police camps and armouries in the valley. Other than sophisticated weapons such as assault rifles, grenades and mortar bombs were also looted. A senior government official said on condition of anonymity that most weapons were given away to groups belonging to the same community as those deployed in the police camps. In some cases, the weapons were taken away after a huge mob gheraoed police camps.
Explained | What is behind Manipur’s widespread unrest?
In all, 789 arms and 10,648 ammunition were recovered till Sunday. After Mr. Shah’s appeal, a total of 202 arms, 252 ammunition and 92 bombs of all kinds were recovered.
Kuldiep Singh, Manipur government’s security adviser and the chief of the newly created inter-agency unified command, told The Hindu that politicians in several areas had sought more time to convince the people to surrender the weapons.
“The crackdown was to begin last week, but the political leaders have sought more time. We have decided to give them three more days following which a combing operation will follow from June 6,” Mr. Singh said. He added that the Kuki groups that are in a Suspension of Operations (SoO) pact with the government were being monitored. “Their camps are under watch, some parts of weapons were found missing,” said Mr. Singh.