Ethnic violence : Inquiry Commission receives 11,000 affidavits


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The three-member Commission of Inquiry (CoI) notified by the Union Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) to probe the ethnic violence in Manipur has received around 11,000 affidavits, a senior Government official told The Hindu.
The CoI had in November 2023 asked members of the public to submit “statement, allegation or complaint” in the form of an affidavit. The majority of the affidavits have been filed by individuals who were affected by the violence, and a few of them have been filed by civil society groups from hill and valley areas.
The Commission set up help desks at relief camps to encourage people to file the affidavits. “The Commission made all the arrangements, from notaries to Oath Commissioners. People had to narrate their complaint and it was typed by the staff at the help desks; they did not have to pay a single penny,” the official said.
On June 4, 2023 the MHA appointed the CoI, headed by Ajai Lamba, former Chief Justice of the Gauhati High Court and two other members, Himanshu Shekhar Das, retired Indian Administrative Service (IAS) officer, and Aloka Prabhakar, retired Indian Police Service (IPS) officer.
The official said that the CoI has examined all the affidavits received so far, and soon response would be sought from the Manipur Government and the Union Government to questions pertaining to the violence and other related issues.
The CoI is also expected to examine witnesses, including private persons and Government officials, before finalising the report.
“The Commission is also likely to take care of the expenses of an individual who is called to appear as a witness. This will include making arrangements for their stay and travel,” the official said.
The CoI is headquartered in Delhi with a camp office in Imphal.
The CoI is expected to probe the causes, the extent of the violence and riots targeting members of different communities, the sequence of events, and whether there had been any lapses or dereliction of duty in this regard on the part of any of the responsible authorities and individuals.
It is also probing if adequate administrative measures were taken to prevent the violence and riots.
“Not only the immediate trigger of the violence but historical aspects are also being examined. The report will be finalised after submissions by the Government and examination of witnesses,” the official said.
At least 221 people were killed and more than 50,000 people were displaced after ethnic violence between the tribal Kuki-Zo and the Meitei people erupted in the State on May 3, 2023. The violence that first started in Churachandpur after a Tribal Solidarity March to protest the Manipur High Court’s order to consider including the majority Meitei people in the Scheduled Tribes list soon spread to other areas of the State.

The Hindu