Amid Manipur Unrest, How States Are Reaching Out To Those Stranded

Students from Tripura studying in Manipur reach Agartala on Saturday.

New Delhi:

Amid the ongoing unrest in Manipur, several states have arranged special flights and established helplines to evacuate those stranded in the violence-hit state.

Maharashtra Chief Minister Eknath Shinde today announced that his government is keeping a close watch on the latest developments in Manipur and will do everything in its capacity to bring back students who are stuck in the northeastern state.

“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,” Mr Shinde said in a statement.

“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,” he added.

The Andhra Pradesh government yesterday opened a helpline and a control room in the national capital to help bring back students from the state who are studying in Manipur.

“We are in constant touch with Manipur government and local administration to ensure all help,” the Andhra Pradesh government said in a statement.

Meanwhile, West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee yesterday said that efforts were underway to reach out to Bengal students in Manipur and provided helpline numbers for those seeking assistance.

“Deeply anguished by the kind of messages and SOS we are receiving from Manipur. I am concerned about the safety of the people of Manipur and others hailing from different parts of the country, now stranded there,” Ms Banerjee tweeted.

“Government of Bengal is committed to stand by the people and has decided to make every effort to evacuate people stranded there in coordination with the government of Manipur. The chief secretary has been directed to monitor the entire process, to help people in distress and despair. We are with the people at all times. Urge everyone to maintain peace,” she added.

The Nagaland government has deployed 22 buses to bring back around 600 people from the state who are stranded in Manipur, said Deputy Chief Minister Y Patton. The Tripura government led by Chief Minister Manik Saha arranged two special flights to evacuate students.

The Airports Authority of India (AAI) today made arrangements to evacuate citizens and bring in additional troops to Manipur.

Curfew was relaxed in some parts of the state today but army drones and helicopters have been deployed to provide aerial reconnaissance.

The AAI in coordination with the Manipur government indefinitely extended 24-hour flight operations at the Bir Tikendrajit International Airport in the state capital Imphal. As internet services have been suspended in the state, the AAI has set up help desks with LAN internet facility at the airport for the printing of flight tickets with food services available for stranded passengers.

Manipur Chief Minister N Biren Singh last night held an all-party meeting to resolve the ongoing crisis in the state. Around 14 companies of security forces are deployed across Manipur and 20 more are being sent by the centre.

More than 20,000 people have been evacuated from violence-hit areas so far, officials said.

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