Manipur’s Apex Tribal Body Urges LoP Rahul For Political Solution To Ethnic Strife - Eastern Mirror
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Manipur’s apex tribal body urges LoP Rahul for political solution to ethnic strife

By IANS Updated: Jul 08, 2024 7:22 pm

IMPHAL — The Indigenous Tribal Leaders’ Forum (ITLF), an apex body of tribals in Manipur, on Monday urged Leader of Opposition (LoP) in the Lok Sabha, Rahul Gandhi for an immediate political solution to the ethnic hostilities. 

LoP Rahul Gandhi on Monday visited relief camps in Manipur’s Jiribam and Churachandpur districts, where thousands of violence-hit people have taken refuge after the ethnic strife and interacted with them.

In Churachandpur, a delegation of ITLF leaders led by its Chairman Pagin Haokip and General Secretary Muan Tombing met the LoP and submitted a memorandum demanding an immediate political solution “to break the cycle of violence and atrocities in Manipur.”

“Clearly, the Kuki-Zo minority will never again be able to live a dignified and safe life in Manipur, given the extent of bloodshed and the radicalisation by the majority society,” the memorandum said.

The ITLF leaders told MP Rahul Gandhi that in order to achieve their socio-economic and political goals, the political settlement stipulated in the Congress party’s manifesto must be fulfilled.

The ITLF said that there has been no improvement in the security situation following over a year of killings and displacements, and citizens continue to face daily danger of death.

“A year after the violence began, Kuki-Zo homes and properties are still being set on fire and destroyed. To date, almost 7,000 homes have been demolished, nearly 200 Kuki-Zo have lost their lives, over 360 places of worship were destroyed and about 20,000 have become homeless.”

The tribal body said that as a minority community with fewer numbers and even fewer resources to protect themselves, they are under constant threat of being attacked by militant groups like Arambai Tenggol and the proscribed UNLF, who have access to a large arsenal of weapons bought from across the border or looted from state armories.

“All commodities, even essentials, have been prohibited from entering the Kuki-Zo areas for more than a year. Frequently, even simple medical supplies like cotton swabs run out. This has negatively impacted the quality of life of the Kuki-Zo people. The condition of our internally displaced people is not up to par, with frequent lack of relief materials and amenities,” the memorandum said.

It said that due to the loss of connectivity, the tribals have to travel over 350 kms to the nearest airport, which is in Lengpui in Mizoram.

Central competitive examinations and emergency medical care suffer serious consequences as a result, the ITLF said, adding that helicopter services are not reliable due to limited seats and frequent flight cancellations.

The memorandum said that as the Kuki-Zo community youths are unable to travel to the state capital, the Meitei-controlled state government is using this opportunity to conduct mass job recruitments causing many job opportunities to have been lost for the Kuki-Zo, showing that the state government is openly partisan.

Students have also been adversely affected, especially those in technical lines, as all major centres of learning and all head offices are located in the capital, the ITLF said.

LoP Rahul Gandhi earlier on Monday visited Manipur’s Jiribam District, where fresh violence occurred after the killing of 59-year-old Soibam Saratkumar Singh, a farmer, on June 6, and met the people in the relief camps.

Congress sources said that the LoP interacted with the people who took shelter in the relief camps after the Jiribam violence broke out.

An indefinite curfew was promulgated and a huge contingent of the central paramilitary forces and state commando battalions were deployed to deal with the ethnic violence in Jiribam District, a mixed populated area adjoining southern Assam.

Manipur’s two Lok Sabha MPs, both from the Congress — Angomcha Bimol Akoijam (Inner Manipur) and Alfred Kanngam S Arthur (Outer Manipur (ST) – and other senior party leaders including AICC General Secretary, KC Venugopal accompanied LoP Rahul Gandhi.

Also read: I stand with people of Assam, their soldier in Parliament: Rahul Gandhi

By IANS Updated: Jul 08, 2024 7:22:09 pm
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