According to sources, the youth was identified after police succeeded in tracing the device used for capturing the “outrageous crime”.
Speaking to TOI, home minister Amit Shah said the government was committed to ensure punishment for those found guilty. “We will take all steps to ensure a free and fair trial and no one found guilty will be spared,” he said.
Shah said the outbreak of ethnic violence, which has claimed scores of lives, marked a setback to the Modi government‘s efforts to bring peace and development to the Northeast. “It is painful,” he said while emphasising that the situation had been stabilised and expressed hope that it would improve further in the coming days.
“There has been no death after July 18. Attendance in schools has reached 82% while 72% of government employees are back at work,” the minister added.
Shah brushed aside the opposition’s charge that the PM was indifferent to the situation in Manipur. “This is baseless. The PM seeks regular updates, sometimes thrice a day, no matter where he is. He has done more than any other PM to bring the area closer not just in terms of physical distance but also in terms of emotional integration. For them to accuse him of apathy is supreme irony and low-grade partisanship,” he said.
“There has been a 68% fall in insurgency-related violence in the region. Deaths of civilians in violence have come down by 82%, while fatalities among security forces have dropped by 68%. The area under the coverage of the Armed Forces Special Powers Act has shrunk by 80%. We have signed peace agreements with several insurgent groups, resulting in thousands of their members laying down arms. There was not a single instance of road blockade and bandh, a regular feature under previous regimes, during the six-year tenure of the BJP government in the state,” Shah further said.
Shah regretted that he was denied an opportunity to place all the facts in Parliament by the opposition. “They did not let me speak because they didn’t want the truth to come out. A free-and-frank debate would have shown how the government of PM Modi has helped establish peace in the entire Northeast,” he said.
Shah said six rounds of talks were held separately with representatives of Kukis and Meiteis, with retired bureaucrats, judges and others acting as interlocutors. “They have made good progress and encouraged the hope that we may be soon be able to get them to the negotiating table as the first step towards an extensive dialogue covering all the points of discord that is crucial to rebuild trust and harmony,” he added.
Shah also said a unified security command under special security advisor Kuldeep Singh was working satisfactorily and “36,000 security force personnel have been deployed in the buffer zone which has been created to guard against clashes”.
He added that efforts have begun to fence stretches of the open border with Myanmar running into 1,643 km. “Ten kilometres have already been fenced and the plan is to erect fence on different patches passing through the states of Manipur, Arunachal Pradesh and Mizoram and totalling 80 km,” he added.
Simultaneously, fingerprints and retina-iris scans of all those who have crossed over from Myanmar are being taken. “They have been put in the ‘negative list’ for the purpose of voter identity and Aadhaar cards,” he said.
A commission of inquiry under a retired high court judge has been set up to go into the circumstances leading to the large-scale violence.
The minister also said that during his three-day visit to Manipur, he held meetings with 41 groups of citizens in Imphal, Churachandpur and Kongpokpi, while his colleague in the ministry, MoS Nityanand Rai, camped in the trouble-torn state for 22 days.