Thursday, 08 June 2023 03:44 GMT

Aftershocks Of Manipur Violence Felt All Across NE States

(MENAFN- IANS) By Sujit Chakraborty
Agartala, May 21 (IANS) The after-effects of the recent ethnic violence in Manipur, which claimed 73 lives, injured 250 and caused large scale damage to houses and various other properties, hit the other northeastern states. Several states in the country made special arrangements and brought out their citizens from strife-torn Manipur.
After widespread ethnic violence broke out in Manipur on May 3, so far 6,665 men, women and children have taken shelter in several Mizoram districts while over 3,000 people have sheltered in Cachar district of southern Assam.
Thousands of students and other people, belonging to seven northeastern and other states of the country, were rescued by their state governments after making special arrangements.
Hundreds of students of all the northeastern and other states have been studying in the Imphal based Regional Institute of Medical Sciences, Central Agricultural University and other Central government run institutions.
Non-tribal Meiteis and the tribals belonging to Chin, Kuki, Mizo, Zomi, Chakma have been living both in Manipur, Mizoram and several other northeastern states leading to occasional violent reaction after an ethnic incident in a particular state.
The erstwhile princely states of Manipur and Tripura merged with the Indian Union in October 1949. The recent ethnic violence shocked not only Manipur but also other northeastern states due to the similarity among various ethnic people.
In 1993, Hindu-Muslim riots in Manipur claimed the lives of around 100 people and injured over 300 people belonging to the Meitei Pangals (Meitei Muslims) and the Hindu Meiteis.
Both the recent ethnic violence and the 1993 communal riots occurred in the month of May.
The 1993 riots broke out when Muslim gun smugglers could not deliver the promised arms consignment to Hindu "criminals" and then beat up some Hindus.
The ethnic violence in Manipur since May 3 have claimed the lives of at least 73 people and injured 250 others, while 1,800 houses were destroyed besides a large number of government and private properties along with religious installations.
Widespread ethnic violence leading to clashes, arson, vandalisation, random destruction of government, private properties including temples and churches broke out in Manipur after a 'Tribal Solidarity March' organised in the 10 hill districts on May 3 to protest against the Meitei community's demand for Scheduled Tribe (ST) status.
Mizoram Chief Minister Zoramthanga, in a letter to his Manipur counterpart N. Biren Singh, had said that he is deeply pained by the violence that has flared up in Manipur and the underlying tension between the Meitei community and tribals there.
"At a time when our two states are already facing issues as a result of the political situation in Myanmar and Bangladesh and the lingering effects of Covid-19, including the prospect of a new wave with more and more cases being detected, such violence only makes things worse," said Zoramthanga, who is also the president of the ruling Mizo National Front.
Zoramthanga requested Biren Singh to exercise his leadership that the people of Manipur know he is capable of and reach out to all parties involved to try and bring an end to this senseless violence.
He assured the full cooperation of his government and the people of Mizoram as they pray for reconciliation and healing in the state of Manipur.
Meanwhile, hundreds of Meiteis, including a large number of students, held a protest in Guwahati in the wake of the violence that paralysed Manipur for many days.
Ten tribal MLAs belonging to the Kuki community have demanded a separate state for the Manipur tribals. The ten legislators, including seven ruling BJP MLAs, sent a memorandum to Union Home Minister Amit Shah in support of their demand.
The 10 tribal MLAs from Manipur, leaders of Indigenous Tribal Leaders' Forum (ITLF), Kuki Inpi Manipur (KIM), Zomi Council, Hmar Inpui (HI) and other Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) from Manipur unanimously resolved to unitedly face the present "ethnic crisis" in Manipur.
The meeting held at Aijal club in Aizawl, Mizoram on Thursday also resolved not to engage in any dialogue with the Manipur government.
Further, the meeting decided to hold consultations on a wider scale at the earliest to arrive at a common political agenda with other groups.
The delegates at the meeting expressed their gratitude to the Mizoram government, NGOs, churches in particular and the people of Mizoram in general for providing humanitarian assistance to the displaced people and those affected by the violence.
Ruling Mizo National Front MP C. Lalrosanga had urged Army chief General Manoj Pande to gain the people's trust and confidence, especially of the tribal communities, to control the ethnic strife in Manipur.
The North East Students' Organisation (NESO), an apex body of eight major students organisations of seven northeastern states, condemned the Manipur government's action evicting the indigenous settlers belonging to the Zo community and the violent incidents that followed.
"The tribals were evicted on the pretext that they are settling on reserve forest whereas the fact is that these indigenous settlers have been residing in these areas for ages.
"The government of Manipur has to take into account that these are the indigenous communities of northeast and have inhabited these lands from their forefathers and they are not illegal immigrants from Nepal or Bangladesh," NESO chairman Samuel B. Jyrwa and general secretary Mutsikhoyo Yhobo said in a joint statement.
The Mizo students' Association, also known as Mizo Zirlai Pawl (MZP), Mizoram's apex students' body, has accused the Manipur government of grabbing Zo ethnic tribals' land in the neighbouring state and evicting them.
"The origin of these problems is the Manipur government's attempts to evict ethnic Zo people from their various settlements so that their lands can be taken from them and these tribal lands can be declared reserved forest, protected forest, wildlife sanctuaries and wetlands," the MZP had said in a statement.
(Sujit Chakraborty can be contacted at )


Legal Disclaimer:
MENAFN provides the information “as is” without warranty of any kind. We do not accept any responsibility or liability for the accuracy, content, images, videos, licenses, completeness, legality, or reliability of the information contained in this article. If you have any complaints or copyright issues related to this article, kindly contact the provider above.