Manipur violence | Maharashtra to arrange special flight to bring back Maha students stuck in violence, says CM Shinde

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File photo of Maharashtra Chief Minister Eknath Shinde.

File photo of Maharashtra Chief Minister Eknath Shinde.
| Photo Credit: PTI

Maharashtra Chief Minister Eknath Shinde on May 7 said students from the State currently stuck in riot-hit Manipur will be first shifted to Assam from where a special flight will be arranged to bring them back home.

Violent clashes broke out recently between tribals and members of the majority Meitei community in the Northeastern State of Manipur, which has so far displaced more than 13,000 people and killed at least 54.

The clashes broke out after a ‘Tribal Solidarity March’ was organised in 10 hill districts of the State to protest against the Meitei community’s demand for Scheduled Tribe (ST) status.

CM Shinde in an official statement said his government was keeping a watch on the situation in Manipur.

“There are 22 students (in Manipur) from Maharashtra. I have spoken to two of them – Vikash Sharma and Tushar Awhad – and assured them of arranging a special flight to return home. I told them not to be afraid of anything, the State is making all the necessary arrangements to bring them back safely,” he said.

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The students were studying in some of the technology institutes based in Manipur, the release said.

“I have also spoken to Maharashtra Chief Secretary Manoj Sounik and other State officials to make the necessary arrangements. We are currently watching the situation closely,” the CM said.

An official communication from Mr. Shinde’s office later said he dialled Manipur Chief Minister N. Biren Singh and Assam CM Himanta Biswa Sarma to discuss providing a safe passage to students from Maharashtra to return home.

The students will be shifted to Assam first and from there a special flight will be arranged for them to return home, it said.

Mr. Shinde has contacted Mr. Sarma in this connection, the statement said.

The Maharashtra CM has also contacted Shiv Sena’s Manipur state head over phone and asked him to provide all the necessary help at local level, Mr. Shinde’s office said.

Leader of Opposition in the Maharashtra Assembly Ajit Pawar told reporters at Baramati in Pune that he had written to Chief Minister Shinde and Deputy CM Devendra Fadnavis to ensure the students are safely brought back from Manipur.

The Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) leader appealed to the CM and his deputy to coordinate with the Centre and the Manipur government to facilitate the return of the students from Manipur.

Life started limping back to normalcy under the watchful eyes of army drones and helicopters deployed for aerial reconnaissance as curfew was relaxed on Sunday in parts of Manipur which witnessed bloody ethnic rioting over the last few days.

In all, 120-125 Army columns have been deployed in the entire riot-hit State.

Sources said some 10,000 soldiers, para-military and central police forces have been deployed in Manipur.


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