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Union Home Minister Amit Shah has said the government is working on removing the trust deficit between the Meitei and Kuki communities to bring lasting peace in Manipur, and the process will be expedited with utmost priority once the Lok Sabha election is over.

Mr Shah told PTI in an interview on Saturday that the clashes between the Meitei and Kuki communities were ethnic in nature and hence cannot be resolved through force.

“This is not an issue of riots or terrorism. This is an issue of ethnic violence. It can’t be resolved through force. This is ethnic violence,” he said when asked whether the government needed to take some strong action to end the cycle of violence in the northeastern state.

The home minister said the violence took place due to a lack of discussions and lack of trust between the two communities which had happened due to some incidents.

“We have to repair this. This is a time-consuming job. We were working on it speedily. But it has been delayed due to the elections. That is quite natural,” he said.

“Because, leaders of both the communities are talking about the interests of the respective community, or their own political issues. But after the counting, the government will work on it with utmost priority. I believe there will be no violence in future,” he said.

Ethnic violence broke out in Manipur on May 3, 2023 after a tribal solidarity march in the hill districts of Manipur to protest against the majority Meitei community’s demand for Scheduled Tribe status.

Since then, over 220 people belonging to both the communities and security personnel have been killed in the continuing violence.

A BJP-led government is in power in Manipur since 2017.

There are two Lok Sabha constituencies in the state: Inner Manipur and the Outer Manipur. While the BJP has fielded its candidate in the former, the party extended support to NDA partner Naga People’s Front’s (NSF) candidate in the later.