The Supreme Court of India, addressing the escalating violence in Manipur, has asserted that it cannot assume control over the law and order situation in the state. With at least 150 people tragically losing their lives and hundreds sustaining injuries since ethnic violence erupted on May 3, the apex court urged various groups involved to offer constructive suggestions that can be conveyed to the N Biren Singh administration and the Central government.
Chief Justice DY Chandrachud and Justice PS Narasimha, comprising the bench, emphasized that the elected government is responsible for maintaining law and order on the ground. While understanding the concerns expressed, the Chief Justice stated, “We cannot run the law and order on the ground, elected government does. We understand your feelings but there should be certain modalities of arguing before this Court,” as reported by LiveLaw. The Supreme Court also highlighted that it should not be utilized as a platform for further escalating tensions within the northeastern state.
The bench directed the Chief Secretary of Manipur to submit a status report regarding the seizure of weapons from police stations. Furthermore, the court urged the Centre and the State to consider a plea from the Manipur High Court Bar Association, which called for a 10-kilometer stretch of a vital National Highway to be kept clear for the transportation of essential commodities to locals.
In another unfortunate incident, one policeman was killed and at least 10 individuals sustained injuries during violent clashes overnight. While there was a brief lull between 3 am and 6 am, the morning hours were marred by indiscriminate firing from Phayeng and Singda villages. Officials reported that the firing targeted villages and hills in the Kangchup area of Kangpokpi district. The possibility of additional casualties from both sides was not ruled out, and a clearer picture is expected once the firing ceases.
The Supreme Court’s stance reinforces the importance of the elected government in addressing the law and order situation in Manipur. As the violence persists, it is crucial for all stakeholders to engage in positive dialogue, offering suggestions that can contribute to resolving the unrest and restoring peace in the region. The court’s directives regarding weapon seizures and the facilitation of essential supplies underscore the need for collaborative efforts between the state administration and the central authorities to bring stability and alleviate the suffering of affected communities.