The government has not been able to recover the stolen arms and ammunition fully in ethnic-violence hit Manipur.
The Manipur has been in the grip of the ethnic-violence for almost six months now.
“The state government has been able to recover only about a quarter of the arms and less than 5 per cent of the ammunition stolen during the peak of violence in May,” IE reported.
“Of the approximately 5,600 arms looted, roughly 1,500 have been recovered, and out of approximately 6.5 lakh rounds of ammunition that went missing, about 20,000 have come back to the police so far, according to sources. This is despite Chief Minister Biren Singh repeatedly threatening action against those found with illegal weapons,” the report said.
Earlier, the Manipur government headed by CM Biren Singh in September had submitted a status report on the recovery of arms and ammunition stolen from the police and state armouries in the wake of ethnic clashes between the Meitei and Kuki communities since early May.
“Almost 80% of the looted arms were from police and state armouries located in three districts — Imphal East, Churachandpur and Bishnupur. Between these three districts, Imphal East leads with over 3,500 stolen arms (out of the total of roughly 5,600) and almost 4 lakh looted ammunition (out of roughly 6.5 lakh),” the report said.
The campuses of the 7th battalions of Manipur Rifles, the 8th India Reserve Battalion (both in Khabeisoi village) and the Manipur Police Training College (in Pangei village) are located in the Imphal East district.
“Given that the majority of the looted weapons are from Imphal East, predictably most of the arms recovered to date, are also from the district of Imphal East (over 650). According to sources, the arms and ammunition loot happened mostly in May when the violence peaked,” it said.
It added:“With the exception of a few stray incidents, there was no looting after May.”
Since the incidents of looting, the state government has deputed personnel from the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) to guard all armouries.
“In armouries situated in critical and tense areas where it wasn’t possible to depute CRPF personnel, the weapons have been moved out completely,” the report said.