The Supreme Court has called for an updated status report from the State of Manipur to assess the current situation of the violent clashes that have unfolded between communities since May 3, 2023.
According to a report, the court’s directive focuses on obtaining information regarding the status of rehabilitation camps, the recovery of arms, and the state of law and order in the region. During the proceedings, Senior Advocate Dr. Colin Gonsalves, representing the Manipur Tribal Forum, expressed concerns about the deteriorating situation in Manipur. However, the Solicitor General of India countered these claims by stating that the situation is gradually improving due to the deployment of an adequate number of armed forces and the establishment of relief camps.
The Solicitor General also noted that the curfew has been reduced to five hours a day, which suggests signs of improvement. Gonsalves maintained that despite previous assurances from the state, the situation has escalated. He pointed out an alarming increase in the number of killings, with the figure rising from twenty to 110 since the last hearing.
Gonsalves alleged that several leaders of militant groups openly advocated for the annihilation of the Kuki community. He argued that disbanding these armed groups is crucial to preventing further violence. The next hearing on the matter is scheduled for the following Monday.
Additionally, a counsel representing the International Meiteis Organisation called for an investigation into the origin of assault weapons and the militant groups involved in the violence. The counsel urged the Union of India to examine this aspect and requested a headcount of the militants.
The Supreme Court, led by Chief Justice of India DY Chandrachud, Justice PS Narasimha, and Justice Manoj Misra, considered two petitions related to the ongoing crisis. The first petition, filed by the Manipur Tribal Forum Delhi, sought protection for the Kuki tribe from the Indian Army. The second petition, filed by Dinganglung Gangmei, Chairman of the Hill Areas Committee (HAC) of the Manipur Legislative Assembly, challenged the Manipur High Court’s directive to consider the inclusion of the Meitei community in the Scheduled Tribe list.