Manipur rights panel takes up suo-moto case against 'forced shifting'

Imphal, September 7 (IANS): The Manipur Human Rights Commission (MHRC) has taken up a suo-moto case against the recent "forced shifting" of Kuki families from Imphal, reportedly by the state authorities, and issued a notice to the state government on this count. Sources in the Commission said on Thursday that MHRC Chairperson Justice Utpalendu Bikas Saha and member K.K. Singh have directed to register a suo-moto case on the basis of a recent media report.

The MHRC has served notice to the Chief Secretary, Commissioner (Home), Director General of Police and Superintendent of Police of Imphal East district, directing them to submit a status report regarding the account detailed in the media report.

“The respondents shall submit the status report on or before October 3. The Commissioner (Home), government of Manipur, shall direct the DGP to protect the homes of the Kuki families, who have been reportedly forcibly shifted from the Imphal valley, till they resettle in Imphal either by their own or by the government of Manipur,” the MHRC order said.

The media report said that in a swift post-midnight operation, "the Manipur government recently evacuated the last remaining Kuki families living in the heart of Imphal, who had displayed unwavering courage in the face of relentless threats and looming communal violence to defiantly cling on to their homes in the New Lambulane locality for the past four months". Incidentally, earlier this week, Manipur BJP legislator Rajkumar Imo Singh had criticised Congress leader P. Chidambaram, saying the latter has failed to understand the core issues of the state.

Chidambaram, quoting the media report, had written on X (formerly Twitter): "... the last 5 Kuki families in Imphal were forcibly removed from their homes by the authorities. This means that ethnic cleansing is complete in the Imphal Valley that is dominated by the Meitei people.

"A state government presides over 'ethnic cleansing' and the Central government claims that the government of the state is being carried on in accordance with the Constitution. There can be nothing more shameful than this development. It marks a new low in India's descent into lawlessness.” Reacting to Chidambaram's comments, Imo Singh said that "one-sided representation can never solve any issue, and one should be brave enough to tell the real and full story and such statements from a seasoned politician from the Congress are certainly not appropriate to say the least".