Meitei and Kuki Communities in Manipur Call for Gov Action Amid Escalating Violence
Meitei and Kuki Communities in Manipur Call for Gov Action Amid Escalating Violence

In Manipur, two significant groups, representing the Meitei and Kuki communities, are calling for intervention from the BJP-led government as clashes in the region have led to over 200 fatalities. The ongoing violence, which began on May 3 of the previous year, has sparked heightened concerns and demands for immediate action.

Since January 16, seven individuals, including two policemen, have lost their lives, while at least a dozen others, including three Border Security Force (BSF) personnel, have sustained injuries during clashes across Tengnoupal, Thoubal, Bishnupur, and Imphal West districts of Manipur.

What Are the Key Demands?

On January 19, a delegation from the Coordinating Committee on Manipur Integrity (COCOMI), a coalition of Meitei groups, met with Chief Minister N Biren Singh and issued a stern warning. They urged the government to take decisive action against those responsible for the civilian and security force casualties. COCOMI coordinator Jeetendra Ningomba expressed concerns about increased attacks and demanded visible action, specifically targeting alleged Chin-Kuki terrorists who are reportedly smuggling weapons from Myanmar.

Ningomba stated, "There have been increased attacks on our people in Moreh and other places in the past few days. We discussed these in detail with the CM and demanded some visible action on the government’s part, like targeting Chin-Kuki terrorists who are illegally bringing weapons from Myanmar. It seems the Centre is not bothered about the situation in Manipur. We asked the CM to explain the ground situation to the central government so that it takes steps to end this violence. If they fail to do so, we will be forced to raise our voice or launch an agitation."

Simultaneously, the Indigenous Tribal Leaders Forum (ITLF), a significant Kuki group, accused the state government of favoring the Meiteis and issued a warning. The recent violence escalated in Moreh of Tengnoupal following an attack on security forces and the arrest of two Kuki individuals linked to the killing of a police officer last year.

"Our demands were not taken into consideration by the government. We will not allow the one-sided communal government favoring only the Meiteis to function in the Kuki-Zo areas. The government will be solely responsible for any untoward incidents that may transpire in the process," read the ITLF notice.

Background of Ethnic Violence

The ethnic violence between the Meitei majority in Imphal Valley and the Kuki-Zo communities dominant in hill districts has been ongoing since May 2023. The conflict has claimed at least 207 lives and displaced around 50,000 individuals.

Fresh violence erupted on January 17 and 18, resulting in five civilians killed and three BSF personnel injured in several districts of Manipur. This followed an attack on police personnel in Tengnoupal, which led to seven deaths and nine injuries over two days.

State security adviser Kuldeep Singh assured that joint operations were underway to control the violence in Moreh, expressing hope to tackle the situation within a day or two.

"We have taken steps so that all forces can be put together and take action...Joint operations have been identified and they are underway (to control the violence in Moreh)...We are trying our best to tackle the situation. We hope in a day or two we will be able to do so," he said.

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