Conflict Resolution in Manipur

Soon after the dastardly ambush on an advance security convoy of Manipur Chief Minister N. Biren Singh by suspected militants, the security situation in the troubled state has deteriorated, making ordinary citizens more vulnerable . Exodus of violence-hit civilian population, triggered by ethnic clashes in Manipur’s Jiribam region to neighboring Assam’s Cachar district, calls for activation of security apparatus to prevent escalation. The ambush, which left one policeman injured, took place in Kangkokpi district when the CM’s advance security team was on its way to Jiribam to prepare for a planned visit by N. Biren Singh to the affected areas. violence on Tuesday to take stock of the situation. the situation. Armed miscreants set fire to houses and the police station in Jiribam district, also revealing the inadequacy of security of life and property of the population. Manipur has been grappling with unending violence between armed groups in the Kuki-Zo-dominated hill districts and the Meitei-dominated plains districts for over a year now. The fact that illegal weapons in the possession of armed civilian groups and militant groups continue to burn in the state even after the massive deployment of contingents of the Army, Assam Rifles and various central paramilitary forces speaks volumes about the task unfinished business of restoring peace. . The violence has claimed the lives of more than 200 people, while more than 50,000 people displaced by violent ethnic clashes still cannot return to their homes. Illegal possession of arms and ammunition looted from armories in the state by gangs of miscreants and arms smuggled into the state by suspected militants have posed serious challenges to the security forces in their efforts to seize all illegal weapons. Armed groups use unarmed civilians as shields to resist the recovery of illegal weapons, making security forces wary of collateral damage to innocent civilians. Any collateral damage will only precipitate the situation, allowing anti-India forces to exploit the situation to engage in more sabotage activities, which must be avoided. Disarming armed groups, both in the hills and in the plains, without the support of unarmed civilians, is an arduous task. Security forces must win the trust of unarmed civilian groups to succeed in their operation to seize all illegal weapons possessed by armed miscreants in the state. This will require forces to provide adequate security in every violence-affected village by foiling attacks by armed miscreants. As long as armed groups continue to seek refuge in residential areas, it will be difficult for security forces to carry out a large-scale operation in any area for fear of collateral damage. Engaging the government and security forces in sustained dialogue with influential civil society groups to convince unarmed civilians not to provide shelter to armed miscreants in villages or urban areas can contribute to the progressive isolation of these unbelievers. Deployment of strong security pickets and simultaneous intensification of zonal domination in surrounding areas of vulnerable villages will boost the confidence of relief camp inmates in returning to their villages. Helping displaced villagers rebuild their lives is crucial to restoring peace. Special financial assistance to affected families to resume agricultural activities, by subsidizing marketing costs, providing educational support to students, providing vocational training to youth, providing allowances during vocational training and providing support financial support to women’s self-help groups to generate income. generating activities in their villages will help them realize how armed miscreants have pushed them into uncertainty by indulging in senseless violence. The repetition of violent attacks has led the civilian population to doubt the ability of security forces to protect them from armed attacks. This explains their trust in the holders of illegal weapons for the protection of their lives and property. The success of security forces in preventing the recurrence of violent incidents is essential to reversing the situation. It is essential for security forces to intensify vigil against infiltration of anti-India elements into Myanmar in this troubled state and the three other border states of Mizoram, Nagaland and Arunachal Pradesh to prevent such elements to pose a threat to internal security in the North-East region. The allegation of an influx of illegal migrants from Myanmar into the Manipur hills has sparked apprehension among the marginalized indigenous people and finding a permanent solution to the problem remains crucial for the sustainability of peace. The surge in violence in Jiribam, which has remained largely peaceful while other districts have been gripped by violent conflict over the past year, calls for an urgent review of the security situation by the central and state governments. Such a review should not be limited to a security response, but also take a holistic view of the current situation to articulate a comprehensive solution aimed at isolating armed miscreants through social activities for vulnerable populations. Elected representatives, civil society groups, women’s groups and student and youth groups who initiate reconciliation between the Meitei and Kuki-Zo groups can give peace a chance in troubled Manipur.