Headline: “Manipur’s Deadly Turmoil Persists: Death Toll Mounts to 142 Amidst Ongoing Violence”
New Delhi: In a disturbing revelation, the Manipur government has informed the Supreme Court that the death toll in the state has reached a staggering 142 as of July 4, with the Imphal West and Imphal East districts being the hardest hit.
Responding to the Supreme Court’s call for an “updated status report,” the Manipur government submitted a comprehensive 16-page document on Monday, July 10.
The report, which sheds light on the gravity of the situation, states that a total of 5,995 first information reports (FIRs) have been registered as of July 4. To ensure an impartial investigation, six crucial FIRs have been transferred to the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) for independent scrutiny and transparency, as reported by The Hindu.
Despite claims from both the Union and state governments about concerted efforts to restore calm, the violence in Manipur shows no signs of abating even after two months. Shockingly, fact-finding teams and The Wire’s journalists, who visited the state, have estimated that over 200 people have lost their lives since the outbreak of violence on May 3. Additionally, more than 60,000 people have been displaced, painting a grim picture of the ongoing crisis.
The Indian Express reveals that Imphal West and Imphal East districts collectively account for 58 of the recorded deaths, with Churachandpur, another severely affected district, reporting 26 fatalities. The valley districts of Kakching and Bishnupur have registered 21 and 18 deaths respectively. The hill district of Kangpokpi has witnessed eight casualties. Other districts with recorded deaths include Tengnoupal (4), Thoubal (4), Kamjong (2), and Chandel (1).
The report also highlights the extent of arson, with a staggering 5,053 incidents reported until July 3. Kangpokpi leads with 1,091 cases, closely followed by Churachandpur with 1,043. Imphal East witnessed 938 incidents of arson, while Bishnupur reported 528.
Furthermore, the report reveals that 54,488 people are still residing in 354 relief camps. To manage these camps, the Centre has provided financial assistance totaling Rs 101 crore.
While taking note of the status report submitted by the Manipur government, Chief Justice of India (CJI) D.Y. Chandrachud acknowledged the limited role of the Supreme Court in de-escalating the situation. The CJI emphasized that it is primarily the responsibility of the elected government to bring the unrest under control. The court was hearing petitions filed by the Manipur Tribal Forum Delhi and the Chairman of the Hill Areas Committee of the Manipur Legislative Assembly.
In a significant development, the court dismissed a petition by the Manipur Tribal Forum Delhi seeking protection for the Kuki tribe by the Indian Army. However, it expressed its intent to urge the Union and state governments to make appropriate arrangements for the safety of citizens in Manipur.
Meanwhile, the court granted interim protection from arrest to Deeksha Dwivedi, a lawyer who faced charges of sedition and other offenses filed by the Manipur Police. Dwivedi was part of a three-member fact-finding team, along with Annie Raja and Nisha Siddhu of the National Federation of Indian Women (NFIW), which visited the state to assess the ground situation. Following their visit, the team held a press conference and described the crisis as “state-sponsored violence.”
A bench comprising Justices P.S. Narasimha and Manoj Misra will hear Dwivedi’s petition on July 14, lending further attention to the ongoing unrest in Manipur.