Manipur violence : Thousands turn out for ‘Solidarity March’ in Mizoram

Manipur violence : Thousands turn out for ‘Solidarity March’ in Mizoram

IANS Photo

Aizawl/Imphal, July 25 (IANS) Thousands of persons on Tuesday took part in the ‘Solidarity March’, organised by the NGOs Coordination Committee in the Mizoram capital on Tuesday to express solidarity with the violence hit Kuki-Zo tribals in Manipur, and demanded the Central and Manipur government restore peace and normalcy at the earliest.

Mizoram Chief Minister Zoramthanga, his deputy Tawnluia, several ministers, and many MLAs of the state cutting across party lines took part in the massive march.

The ‘Solidarity March’, which was held in Aizawl and various other districts simultaneously, has also strongly condemned the Central and Manipur government for the "brutal attacks" on the tribals and atrocious sexual assaults on the tribal women.

Carrying placards and banners, the spirited ‘Solidarity March’ slammed Prime Minister Narendra Modi for his "silence" and criticised Manipur Chief Minister N. Biren Singh for his total failure to deal with the situation.

"The suffering of tribals in Manipur is our suffering", "Mizoram stands with Kuki-Zo tribals", "Let us not go back to barbaric era", "Women's bodies are not battlefields", "Death penalty for Manipur rapists", "Stop killing Christians in Manipur", were among the messages on the banners and placards.

Briefing the media, Young Mizo Association (YMA) Assistant General Secretary Malsawmliana said that during the over 84-day-long ethnic violence, the way human rights were violated in Manipur is unparalleled and never witnessed in India.

Many singers sang various solidarity songs while the volunteers collected donations for the affected people.

The participants in the ‘Solidarity March’ displayed national flags as well as organisational flags. After the ‘Solidarity March’, the NCC issued a statement saying that the disrespect shown to fellow humans has "blackened the face of Indian democracy".

"So far, 359 churches and quarters have been destroyed, 197 villages burnt, 7,247 homes damaged by fire and 41,425 people have been forced to leave Manipur. Many students studying in Manipur cannot continue their studies due to this ethnic conflict. This may have far reaching effects on the lives of the students and even the country as a whole," the statement said.

The offices of the ruling Mizo National Front, opposition BJP, Congress and Zoram People's Movement (ZPM) were also closed in support of the solidarity rallies.

At the rally, NGO Co-ordination Committee Chairman R. Lalngheta urged the Centre to end the violence in Manipur.

"If the Indian government considers us as Indian, it should take immediate steps to address the sufferings of the Kuki-Zo community people in Manipur," he said.

The NGOs Coordination Committee comprising five major civil society organisations in Mizoram, including the Young Mizo Association (YMA), the Mizoram Upa (senior citizens) Pawl, the Mizo Hmeichhe (women) Insuihkhawm Pawl, and two prominent students' organisations - the Mizo Zirlai Pawl and the Mizo Students' Union organised the ‘Solidarity March’ in support of the Kuki-Zo tribals in Manipur.

On the eve of the march, YMA General Secretary Lalnuntluanga issued a statement appealing to the Meitei community people residing in Aizawl and other parts of Mizoram not to worry but to maintain a sense of serenity in light of Tuesday's Solidarity March, while urging the Manipur government to take necessary measures to ensure well-being and security of the Kuki-Zo people.

Security was tightened across Mizoram in view of the Solidarity March. After the series of meetings led by Mizoram Director General of Police (DGP) Anil Shukla, heavy deployment of police, patrolling, and close vigilance on the situation were ensured in all 11 districts, especially in the vulnerable areas, to prevent any untoward incident.