KOLKATA, June 9 (PTI): At least 35 weapons and warlike stores were recovered during joint combing operations by security forces in ethnic violence-affected Manipur, an official said.
Domination of the arterial national highway 37, connecting capital Imphal with Assam and other parts of the country, was carried out to ensure free movement of essential goods to and from Manipur as part of the operations, he said.
Stating that 35 weapons of different types, ammunition and warlike stores were recovered on the second day of joint combing operations on Thursday in the hills and valley sector, the official said that the security forces are adopting confidence building measure and a people centric approach to alleviate the hardships of the people, affected by the month-long ethnic strife in the northeastern state.
On the first day of the joint combing operations on Wednesday, the security forces recovered 29 weapons, mostly automatic, mortar, hand grenades, small arms, ammunition and warlike stores.
He said that magistrates were present during combing operations in non-AFSPA areas.
Adequate measures were being taken during the combing operations, aimed at de-escalation of tensions amongst communities through physical domination besides recovery of weapons and ammunition, to ensure that the local population are not inconvenienced, the official added.
At least 100 people lost their lives and 310 others were injured in the ethnic violence in Manipur that broke out a month ago.
A total of 37,450 people are currently sheltered in 272 relief camps.
Clashes first broke out on May 3 after a ‘Tribal Solidarity March’ was organised in the hill districts to protest against the Meitei community’s demand for Scheduled Tribe (ST) status.
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.
Around 10,000 Army and Assam Rifles personnel have been deployed in the state to bring back peace.