Army Chief Gen Manoj Pande will visit Manipur on Saturday to review the situation in the violence-hit state, officials said. The Eastern Army Commander Lt Gen Rana Pratap Kalita will also accompany the Army Chief during his two-day visit to the state.
A senior Army official told PTI that Pande and Kalita will reach Imphal from Delhi to review the ground situation on the backdrop of ongoing ethnic clashes between communities. “Pande will meet the Governor, Chief Minister and Security Advisor to discuss the situation,” he added.
Gen Pande and Lt Gen Kalita will also meet the ground commanders, including those from other forces, and review the law and order situation.
Gen Pande is scheduled to return on Sunday, while Lt Gen Kalita is likely to stay back for Union Home Minister Amit Shah’s visit to Manipur from Monday, Army sources said.
Clashes broke out in Manipur after a ‘Tribal Solidarity March’ was organised in the hill districts on May 3 to protest against the Meitei community’s demand for Scheduled Tribe (ST) status.
The violence was preceded by tension over the eviction of Kuki villagers from reserve forest land, which had led to a series of smaller agitations.
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 per cent of the population and reside in the hill districts.
The ethnic clashes claimed over 70 lives and some 10,000 army and para-military personnel had to be deployed to bring back normalcy in the northeastern state.