The surrender of arms and ammunition has picked up pace in Manipur after the appeal made by the Union Home Minister. A total of 144 weapons have been voluntarily surrendered across multiple districts in the state, showcasing a positive response to the call for peace and disarmament. The surrendered weapons include a range of sophisticated firearms.
The appeal by Home Minister Amit Shah, made during his recent visit to Manipur, urged individuals possessing weapons to surrender them before the local police. As a deterrent, the Minister also announced the commencement of combing operations to retrieve weapons from those who failed to comply with the surrender request. Stern action under stringent sections of the law awaits anyone found in possession of weapons during these operations.
The urgency for arms surrender stems from the recent ethnic clashes that have plagued Manipur, resulting in significant violence and unrest. Alarming reports indicate that a large number of weapons, estimated at over 2,000, were stolen from government armouries by mobs during the clashes. While efforts have been made to recover these weapons, with 605 retrieved so far, it is believed that the number may rise in the coming days.
Under the tripartite suspension of operations agreement, signed between militant groups, the state government, and the Centre, it was agreed that all weapons would be surrendered and securely stored under a double lock system. Some exceptions were granted for self-defense purposes, strictly limited to designated camps where group leaders resided. However, the unilateral withdrawal of certain pacts by the state government earlier this year has complicated the situation, prompting the need for a comprehensive disarmament effort.
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