Manipur violence: SC asks state to apprise court-appointed panel of steps taken to secure places of worship

The Supreme Court on Friday directed the Manipur government to apprise the apex court-appointed committee of the steps taken to secure places of public worship in the state where ethnic clashes have claimed more than 170 lives since May.

A bench headed by Chief Justice D Y Chandrachud, while considering the issue of restoration of places of worship, said the state government shall furnish within two weeks to the panel a comprehensive list after identifying religious structures damaged during the strife.

The bench, also comprising Justices J B Pardiwala and Manoj Misra, clarified the identification of such structures shall cover all religious denominations.

“The government of Manipur shall apprise the committee of the steps which have been taken to secure the places of public worship,” it said.

The apex court also permitted the committee to prepare a comprehensive proposal detailing the way forward, including with regard to restoration of places of public worship damaged or destroyed during the violence since May.

The apex court is seized of a batch of pleas, including those seeking court-monitored probe into cases of violence, besides measures for relief and rehabilitation.

It had appointed an all-woman committee of former high court judges headed by justice (retd) Gita Mittal and comprising justices (retd) Shalini P Joshi and Asha Menon.

Manipur descended into chaos and untrammelled violence in May over a high court order directing the state government to consider including the non-tribal Meitei community in the list of Scheduled Tribes.

This order led to rampant ethnic clashes. More than 170 people have been killed and several hundred others injured since ethnic violence first broke out in the state on May 3 when a ‘Tribal Solidarity March’ was organised in the hill districts to protest against the majority Meitei community’s demand for Scheduled Tribe status.

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