Churachandpur/Imphal, May 7
People were seen coming out in large numbers to buy food, medicines and other essential commodities during a curfew relaxation period Sunday morning as life limped back to normal in this riot-affected town.
Army and Assam Rifles columns conducted a flag march through the town as soon as the curfew relaxation ended at 10 am.
In all some 120-125 Army columns have been deployed in the entire riot-hit state. Sources said some 10,000 soldiers, para-military and central police forces have been deployed in Manipur.
A defence spokesperson said “Army has also significantly enhanced aerial surveillance through movement of UAVs (unmanned aerial vehicles) and redeployment of helicopters within Imphal valley.”
The total curfew that prohibited the movement of any person outside their homes was relaxed for three hours, from 7 am, in violence-hit Manipur’s Churachandpur district on Sunday morning allowing people to buy essentials such as medicines and food.
The curfew imposed under Section 144 of the CrPC. It was also relaxed on Saturday for two hours from 3 pm to 5 pm.
“With the law and order situation improving in Churachandpur district and after talks were held between the state government and various stakeholders, I’m pleased to share that the curfew will be partially relaxed as per the details shared below (sic),” Chief Minister N Biren Singh had tweeted on Saturday night.
The curfew was imposed on May 3 after violent clashes broke out between tribals and members of the majority Meitei community, which has so far displaced over 13,000 people and killed at least 54.
The clashes broke out after a ‘Tribal Solidarity March’ was organised in the ten hill districts of the state to protest against the Meitei community’s demand for Scheduled Tribe (ST) status.
Meiteis account for about 53 per cent of Manipur’s population and live mostly in the Imphal valley. Tribals—Nagas and Kukis—constitute another 40 percent of the population and live mostly in the hill districts.
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