Meitei And Kuki-Zomi Organisations Mark One Year Of Ethnic Conflict In Manipur In Separate Events - Eastern Mirror
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Meitei and Kuki-Zomi organisations mark one year of ethnic conflict in Manipur in separate events

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By IANS Updated: May 03, 2024 7:58 pm
Meitei and Kuki-Zomi

IMPHAL — Showcasing the continuing ethnic hostility, the Meitei and Kuki-Zomi communities on Friday organised separate events in their respective areas of Manipur to mark the one-year of ethnic violence in the northeastern state.

Different organisations of both the non-tribal Meitei and Kuki-Zomi tribals, however, in their separate programmes, paid their tributes to those killed in the ethnic riot, which began on May 3 last year.

Seven women, as part of their symbolic protest, shaved their heads and took part in a cycle rally to spread the message of peace and unity. Donning black clothes and displaying placards, with the slogan: “We want peace, no to separate administration, protect territorial integrity”. travelled 19 km from Sekmai to Kangla, at the heart of Imphal city.

Shanti Devi, one of the seven women, said that the women shaved their heads as a part of their symbolic gesture and to protest the government’s incapability to curb the sporadic incidents of violence, especially on the fringe areas in between the Imphal Valley and the hill areas.

M. Sobita Devi, a spokesperson of women activists’ organisation ‘Meira Paibi’, said that Manipur, during the past year, has lost a huge number of human lives, and suffered damage to enormous and unaccounted numbers of government and non-government properties, while the economy, education, trades, and business were impacted.

Meitei and Kuki-Zomi

“Today we once again remember the immense losses in all spheres of society. We are still shocked recounting the horror of violence, atrocities committed on farmers, daily wage earners, poor people, women, elderly persons,” she told the media.

Displaced persons, sheltered in relief camps, also organised various programmes on one year of completion of violence. The Federation of Civil Society Organisations (FOCS) has urged the people to observe May 3 emphasising the importance of unity and peace.

The Coordinating Committee on Manipur Integrity (COCOMI), the apex body of the Meitei community, observed the completion of one year of the ongoing conflict at Sumang Leela Sanglen, Palace Compound in Imphal East under the banner of “365-Days of Chin-Kuki Narco-Terrorist Aggression in Manipur”.

Meanwhile, the Indigenous Tribal Leaders Forum (ITLF), the apex body of the Kuki-Zomi tribals, observed a shutdown in tribal-dominated Churachandpur, Kangpokpi and other districts on Friday and urged all members of the Kuki-Zo community to hoist a black flag on every household as a mark of remembrance and solidarity.

“All business establishments, institutions, and markets remained closed as a sign of respect and homage to our fallen heroes. Let us come together as one community to reflect on our journey, reaffirm our oneness, and strengthen our resolve towards a brighter future for the Kuki-Zo people,” an ITLF statement said.

Hundreds of tribals belonging to the Kuki-Zomi community paid respect and organised various commemorative events as a mark of respect to those killed in the ethnic violence.

Kuki-Zomi community organisations also held commemorative events cum protest programmes at Jantar Mantar in New Delhi.

Over 220 people, comprising both communities, have been killed, more than 1,500 injured and over 70,000 people displaced after the ethnic violence between the Meitei and Kuki-Zomi community broke out on May 3 last year. The riot also destroyed thousands of houses, government and non-government properties and religious installations.

The riots began after a ‘Tribal Solidarity March’ was organised in the hill districts to protest the Meitei community’s demand for Scheduled Tribe status. Meiteis account for about 53 per cent of Manipur’s population and live mostly in the Imphal Valley comprising six districts while tribals — Nagas and Kuki-Zomi-Chin – constitute little over 40 per cent and reside in ten hill districts.

Since the ethnic riot began a year ago, 10 tribal MLAs belonging to Kuki-Zomi communities and several leading tribal organisations, including the ITLF and Kuki Inpi Manipur (KIM), have been demanding separate administrations or a separate state for the tribals living in the state.

Also read: Recurring violence hampers Centre’s peace efforts in Manipur even after year

6091
By IANS Updated: May 03, 2024 7:58:37 pm
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