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SC refuses urgent listing of plea seeking protection of Manipur tribals

The Supreme Court on Tuesday refused to hear the interlocutory application (IA) filed by the Manipur Tribal Forum alleging that even after the Centre's assurances to this court

A view of the Supreme Court | Photo: PTI

IANS New Delhi

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The Supreme Court on Tuesday refused to hear the interlocutory application (IA) filed by the Manipur Tribal Forum alleging that even after the Centre's assurances to this court, 70 tribals were killed in violence in the state.
Mentioned before a vacation bench of Justices Surya Kant and M.M. Sundresh by senior Advocate Colin Gonsalves, he submitted that the IA was for the security of the tribal areas and that people were being killed even after the Central government's assurances to the apex court.
"This institution is our last hope and even after assurance the tribals are being killed," Gonsalves said.
However, the bench said that it will hear the matter once the court resumes its normal functioning post summer break and listed it for hearing on July 3.
The top court also said: "This is a serious issue of law and order ... I hope the court is not required to pass orders for Army intervention, etc."
On the other hand, Solicitor General Tushar Mehta submitted that security agencies were doing their best.
"So sorry this is being said," he further said.
The application by Manipur Tribal Forum, a tribal welfare body, stated, "Ethnic cleansing of Kukis by the Arambai Tenggola and Meitei Leepun is the core issue."
It says that the assurances given by SG saying that "peace is being restored", are not useful anymore, and made in a non-serious fashion and are not even intended to be implemented.
"The reason why this hon'ble court ought not to rely anymore on the empty assurances given by UOI (Union of India) is because both the UOI and the Chief Minister of the state have embarked jointly on a communal agenda for the ethnic cleansing of the Kukis," the forum submitted.
It claims that since the last hearing of the issue in this court, 81 more persons belonging to the Kuki tribe have been killed and 31,410 Kukis displaced.
Further, 237 churches and 73 administrative quarters have been torched and 141 villages destroyed, the court was told.
It stressed that the media coverage portraying the violence as a "clash" between two tribal communities is far from the truth.
The attackers are backed by the ruling party in power, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), the forum has contended.
"Though the Meiteis and the tribals have had differences, yet they have co-existed for decades. Local skirmishes have certainly taken place but the well planned, organised armed attacks and the razing of villages as has happened is completely unprecedented," the application reads.
Therefore, without such groups being arrested and prosecuted, "any semblance of peace will be fragile", the application says.
The application also talks about the involvement of top politicians and drug kingpins in poppy cultivations that are dependent on tribal workers.
A forum approached the Supreme Court, requesting the evacuation of Manipuri Tribals who have sought refuge in the CRPF camps due to violence.
On June 8, the Manipur government had assured the top court that they would address the violence and take proactive measures.
The court then called for relief camp arrangements, protection of religious sites, and rehabilitation of displaced persons.
The forum, however, submitted an objection, stating that the arrangement made by the Union Home Ministry was unacceptable as it did not consult the tribal groups.
The ministry formed a committee led by former Gauhati High Court Chief Justice, Ajay Lamba, to investigate the matter.

(Only the headline and picture of this report may have been reworked by the Business Standard staff; the rest of the content is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

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First Published: Jun 20 2023 | 1:43 PM IST

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