New Delhi, 4th Aug, 2023
Manipur crises is complicated in nature due to involvement of multiple factors such as HC ruling in favour of the long standing demand of Meitei’s for ST status. Kuki’sdemand for separate administration, Statehood / Union Territory. Insurgency in the both the Communities supported by Government. Illegal Infiltration of militants groups / Chin Refugees from neighboring Myanmar. Exist of Mistrust among Meitei’s & Kuki’s. Poppy cultivation and its export & Comlicity of Mr. Biren Singh Government.
Manipur is not new to turmoil. The insurgency ridden sensitive state of North East has unstressed strife, bloodshed, ethnical disturbances and blockades for decades. But the conflict between Meitei’s & Kuki’s erupted on May 3rd is continuing till date and the both the communities are blaming each other for triggering the strife.
Under this context and to ascertain the ground realities of the crises, to know why the turmoil is continuing for more than three months & why the government is not taking any effort to stop it, Dr. S.Q.R. Ilyas, National President and Mr. Subramani Arumugam, National Gen. Sec. (Org.) visited Manipur for two days (1st & 2nd Aug 2023) and met leaders of the different ethni groups, victims, intellectuals, social & human right activist, media persons, politicians and also visited the relief camps
Our observations are as follows
Looting of arms from the government armouries, police stations & police training centers by the militia, militants and migrants.
Villages possess country made- arms and even sophisticated weapons, incessant firing and arson continued, thousands of houses burnt and hundreds of churches (religious worship place) razed.
Sexual harassment of women, mob parading naked women in public has become viral & raping them & killing, many have lost their life and houses & properties were damaged.
All show that the State machinery has completely failed to control the unrest.
Meitei’s demand for ST Status:
The High Court of Manipur’s ruling that the State government to consider the demand of ST status by Meitei community has triggered unrestin Kuki’s area. Kuki’s community is vehemently opposing this and have an apprehension that they will loose their rights on land in the hills and forest once the Meitei’s are given ST Status, Kuki’s complain that Meitei’s are already enjoying general, OBC & SC categories.
Demand of Kuki’s:
On the other hand Kuki’s community is demanding for the separate administration and statehood or atleast union territory status which is objected by Meitei’s and other neutral communities. They say that the geographical territory of the state to be preserved and should not be divided at any cost.
We are informed that insurgent groups are there in both the communities and unfortunately they are supported by the government for the various reasons. Illigal infiltration of militant groups and the Chin refugees from the neighbouring Mynammar is not continued by the army. In fact there is a complain that Assam rifles 22 is supporting the insurgents in Kuki’s area & the state government is supporting the insurgents of Meteis area. The treaty sighined between the government and insurgents in 2008 for suspension of the operations (SOP) is of no use.
Exist of Mistrust among communities:
The divide and mistrust between the majority and minority communities are deepering. There is a long history of mutual suspicion between ethnic groups in the imphal valley and its surroundings hills.
The government in Manipur regardless of which party comes to power, has always been dominated by plainsmen Metei’s and consequently the government’s action have after viewed through the prism of suspicion by tribals.
The efforts taken by the government to evict insurgents tribals restless from reserve forest & protected forest is seen as anti-tribal move, leading to widespread dis contest among Kuki’s and other tribal communities. The failure of the government to provide rehabitation to the evicted tribals increase the mistrust.
Visit to Relief Camps:
We have visited a relief camp in NB College, wherein 350 Meitei are housedincluding 150 women & 75 children. More than 60 thousand people from both the communities are kept ibn different relief camps, government provides ration. There is no arrangement for drinking water and they bring from outside markets. The Children are admitted is near by schools, and because of the violence many children have become orphans. It is very pathetic that the people who were enjoying their home, family, properties wealth etc., till yeastday have become homeless and dumped in relief camps and are at mercy of the government for ration. It is very sad to hear their anger, anxiety, anguish, sorrow & pain.
Accessibility to the relief camps is also restricted and become difficult task. Apart from BSF, CRPF, Local police etc., The community women themselves do self polising by checking the vechicles & enquiring the visiors passing through their villages.
We had very tough time is visiting some of the Kuki’s areas and meeting with the community leaders and intellectuals working for them as there was tension escalated due to some new issues.
Lack of Development:
Despite of the double engine Sarkar ruling the State for second time, there is no development in the State. There is no industries, no promotion of tourism and agriculture.
Only rice is cultivated as rain crop and no other crops were tried.
The State has a very good scope & potential for tourism industries and agriculture. No Institutions for higher education, chidren are moving to other States for pursuing higher education.
Poppy is mainly cultivated in the hills by the tribals Kuki’s & insurgents from Myanmar. But we learnt that only cultivation is done by Kuki’s and Business people, agents, middleman, exporters are all belong to Metei Community. But there exists a close nexus between the Kuki cultivators and Meitei business people, politician and ruling dispersion.
Our demands are as follows:
Both Central & State government should take earliest effort to stop the violence immediately. Everyone is questioning the in action of the government.
The Chief Minister should own moral responsibility and resign.
Considering the gravity of the situation the Central government should put all its political calculations aside and impose president’s rules, entire are should be brought under the control of military.
Resettlement and rehabitation of the victims of the respective places.
Govt. with the help of civil society groups should initiate peace talks with both the communities to bring peace & harmony in the State.
The Infiltration of Militants / Insurgent must be stopped immediately in the territory.
The govt. should identify the infiltration and evict them.
Children who become orphan to be taken special attention as their future become uncertain.
Looted & illegal arms to be recovered from the militants and miscrants belonging to both the communities to stop further bloodshed.
Poppy cultivation & drug business must be stopped immediately.
Internet connections to be restored to avoid spreading unsustainable of rumors & mistrust.
Necessary connectivity to be taken to the trauma affected people.
The conflict stews from decades of the contestations over land and the natural resources, fuelling deep seated resettlement among both the Meitei and Kuki Communities.
The Government should frame a holistic policy to stop the violence as fear that the tensions could escalates further, Spilling into the neighboring States of Mizoram, Assam and Nagaland.
Communal Riots in Nuh
We strongly condemn the communal violence in Nuh and its adjacent areas and it is planned conspiring with the State govt. hand in glove with the rioters.We suspect the district administration and police as to why permission was given for Yatra in a Muslim majority area and why proper police protection was not given. The riots were politically motivated since State elections are due in Haryana.
The killing of the Muslims by a constable in moving train is the result of communal mindset that has been nurtured by the ruling party and the media over the years.
We appeal to the civil society, media, opinion parties to come forward and play a major role to crub position of the communalism which is engulf the country before it is too late.