Manipur crisis: CSOs broker ‘exchange’ of displaced victims

‘Don’t know what the outside world is talking about us’  

Morung Express News
Dimapur | May 8

The crisis in Manipur reportedly took a turn for the better as an “exchange” of internally displaced victims from both sides of the conflict was affected on May 8. According to information received from Churachandpur on Monday, around a thousand people, displaced by the ongoing turmoil in Manipur, were returned to their native places.

A journalist from Churachandpur told The Morung Express that it was brokered by civil society organisations from both sides, with the aid of the state administration and Central security forces. “Today, there was an exchange of displaced people, who were trapped in Churachandpur and Imphal during the violence,” said the journalist, who wished to be unnamed citing safety concerns. 

According to him, the exchange happened in the Churachandpur Mini Secretariat, which was serving as a makeshift shelter for the displaced. Around 500 displaced victims each from both sides was handed over to the authorities, he informed. 

He maintained that there were more people sheltered not only in the district headquarters but also in villages. He however said that they are being fed by the local community as there was allegedly no food aid from the government authorities. “They are being treated humanely,” he added. 

While there was no untoward incident in the district headquarters, an exchange of gunfire was reported from the border with the Bishnupur district on the night of May 7. This reported incident could not be officially verified. 

He summed up the prevailing situation in Churachandpur and in the other violence affected districts as a “dormant sense of apprehension,” and along the inter-district border as “eerie.”

While an uneasy calm prevailed, he said that it would be a difficult journey for Manipur to regain trust and rebuild relationship among the people party to the conflict. 

He further sought to address fake news and rumour, which he termed, was biased towards the Kuki community. “There was a rumour about rape of female medical students in the Churachandpur Medical College. But it did not happen,” he clarified. 

He added, “There was curfew relaxation today but no shops are opening. We are running out of fuel, groceries and other basic necessities.” 

With an internet gag, he said that the people are feeling entrapped and local journalists unable to do their job. “News is not trickling in. We don’t know what they are reporting, what they are saying. We don’t know what the outside world is talking about us or reading about us,” he said. 

He held that the media organisations in Manipur are concentrated in the Meitei majority valley districts.