Manipur unrest: Meiteis, Kukis demand action from govt amid heightened violence | Latest News India - Hindustan Times

Manipur unrest: Meiteis, Kukis demand action from govt amid heightened violence

Jan 20, 2024 12:00 PM IST

The Indigenous Tribal Leaders Forum (ITLF), an influential Kuki group, has accused the state government of supporting Meiteis

Guwahati: The two prominent groups that represent the Meitei and Kuki communities in Manipur on Friday hardened their stances demanding action from the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)-led government amid heightened violence which has claimed the lives of over 200 people since the clashes began on May 3 last year.

The ethnic clashes between Meitei and Kuki communities first broke out on May 3 (APF Photo)
The ethnic clashes between Meitei and Kuki communities first broke out on May 3 (APF Photo)

Since Tuesday, seven people, including two policemen have been killed and at least a dozen others, including three Border Security Force (BSF) personnel, have been injured in the recent clashes which took place in Tengnoupal, Thoubal, Bishnupur and Imphal West districts.

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On Friday, a team from the Coordinating Committee on Manipur Integrity (COCOMI), an umbrella body of Meitei groups, met chief minister N Biren Singh at his residence in Imphal and issued a warning to act against those responsible for killing civilians and security forces.

Also Read: Manipur: Curfew imposed in Tengnoupal district after attack on security forces

“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,” said Jeetendra Ningomba, coordinator, COCOMI.

The organisation blamed the government for failing to stop attacks on security forces and civilians despite the presence of many security personnel from the state police, the Indian Army and Central Armed Police Forces (CAPS).

“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,” said Ningomba.

The Indigenous Tribal Leaders Forum (ITLF), an influential Kuki group, on Friday, on the other hand, accused the state government of supporting Meiteis and issued a warning.

The recent spate of violence escalated in Moreh of Tengnoupal following an attack on security forces and the arrest of two Kuki persons believed to be involved in killing a police officer last year.

Tengnoupal, which is dominated by people from the Kuki tribe, has been witnessing sporadic incidents of violence for over two weeks now with several instances of attacks on security forces by armed miscreants.

Terming the allegation of their involvement in the killing as a “blatant lie”, the ITLF had on January 16 given a 48-hour deadline to the state government to release the duo.

Also Read: 5 civilians killed, 3 BSF personnel hurt in fresh round of Manipur violence

“Our demands were not taken into consideration by the government. We will not allow the one-sided communal government favouring 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,” the ITLF notice read.

Manipur has been roiled by ethnic violence between the Meitei (which is in majority in Imphal Valley) and the Kuki-Zo communities (who are dominant in a few hill districts) since May last year. The violence has claimed at least 207 lives and displaced around 50,000.

Five civilians were killed and three Border Security Force (BSF) personnel were injured in fresh violence that spread through several districts in Manipur on Wednesday night and Thursday morning.

This comes a day after two police personnel were killed and six others injured in an attack by armed militants in Tengnoupal on Wednesday morning, taking the toll over the two days to seven dead and nine injured.

“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,” state security adviser Kuldeep Singh said on Thursday.

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    Utpal is a Senior Assistant Editor based in Guwahati. He covers seven states of North-East India and heads the editorial team for the region. He was previously based in Kathmandu, Dehradun and Delhi with Hindustan Times.

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