Operation launched to recover looted arms in Manipur, 140 weapons surrendered
As per police, the surrendered weapons included self-loading rifles, carbines, AK and INSAS rifles, light machine guns, pistols, M16 rifles, smoke/tear gas guns, sten gun and grenade launchers
After Union Home Minister Amit Shah's appeal, 140 various types of weapons, looted earlier from the police and various security forces, have been surrendered at different districts in Manipur, officials said on Friday.
Shah, on the last day of his four-day visit to violence hit Manipur on Thursday, requested all concerned to surrender their weapons to the security forces and administration, otherwise strict legal action would be taken against those who are possessing arms and ammunition.
According to police officials, the surrendered weapons included self-loading rifles, carbines, AK and INSAS rifles, light machine guns, pistols, M16 rifles, smoke/tear gas guns, sten gun and grenade launchers.
Defence officials said that intelligence information-based combing operations are underway across Manipur.
"To ensure sustainable peace in Manipur, security forces have identified de-weaponisation and enforcement of the provisions of the Suspension of Operation (SoO) agreement signed with the Kuki militants as focal points to be addressed immediately from the security perspective across Manipur," a defence spokesman said.
He said that intelligence sources have been energised and dedicated columns kept on standby to ensure quick action on receipt of input for early recovery of weapons.
"Surprise checks are being conducted in the designated camps of the Kuki militants under the SoO deal to ensure the availability of weapons and presence of cadres as stipulated in the agreement," the defence PRO said.
He said that the Union Minister asked the Kuki militants to abide by the provisions of the agreement by the cadres to maintain peace.
"Pursuant to the Home Minister's directions, security forces have evolved detailed plans to launch large scale combing operations for the recovery of snatched weapons besides surprise checks of the designated camps Kuki militants," he said.
The Home Minister on Thursday announced that an Inter-Security agency unified command headed by Chief Security Advisor to Manipur government Kuldiep Singh, a retired IPS officer and former CRPF chief, would be formed and it would impartially conduct all the security related operations.
There are 2,266 Kuki cadres staying in different designated camps in Manipur after the Centre and the Manipur governments signed the tripartite Suspension of Operation (SoO) agreement with three outfits -- the Kuki National Army (KNA), Zomi Revolutionary Army (ZRA), and Kuki Revolutionary Army (KRA) -- on August 22, 2008.O
Officials in Imphal said that with no major incidents reported in any of the districts in Manipur, curfew was relaxed for 7 to 12 hours in most of the districts including Imphal West and Imphal East district. There is no curfew now in Tamenglong, Noney, Senapati, Ukhrul, and Kamjong districts.
The officials said that currently around 37,450 people of different communities are being sheltered in over 270 relief camps, including community halls in 13 districts.
Manipur had witnessed unprecedented ethnic violence since May 3, leaving at least 80 dead and over 300 injured besides the destruction and arsoning of around 2,000 houses, huge number of government and private properties and a large number of vehicles.
The violence broke out after a 'Tribal Solidarity March' was organised in 11 hill districts by the All Tribal Students' Union of Manipur to protest the Meitei community's demand for Scheduled Tribe status.
It was preceded by tension over the eviction of Kuki villagers by the state government from reserve forest land, which had led to a series of smaller agitations in four districts.