Tribals take out rallies demanding political solution to Manipur crisis

Tribals take out rallies demanding political solution to Manipur crisis

IANS Photo

Imphal, June 24 (IANS) Thousands of tribals in Manipur took out rallies on Monday demanding a political solution to end the over-year-long ethnic violence in the northeastern state and sent a memorandum to Union Home Minister Amit Shah in support of their demand.

Organised by the Indigenous Tribal Leaders' Forum (ITLF), an apex body of tribals in Manipur, thousands of tribal men and women held a rally in Churachandpur district and submitted the memorandum to the Union Home Minister through the Deputy Commissioner of the district.

Similar rallies were held in tribal dominated Kangpokpi, Tengnoupal and Pherzawl districts.

Carrying placards with “No Political Solution, No Peace”, “Union Territory for the Kuki-Zo People Right Now!”, “Forced Union With Meiteis Will Not Last” and “We Want UT Under Article 239A”, the tribals belonging to the Kuki, Zomi, Hmar communities demanded a political solution to the ethnic crisis.

ITLF Chairman Pagin Haokip said that Monday’s rallies were organised to demand that the Central government expedite the process of finding a political solution to the violence.

“Tribals want the creation of a Union Territory with legislature under article 239A of the Constitution,” he said.

An ITLF statement said that after more than a year of killings and displacements, there is no improvement in the security situation in Manipur, with citizens at risk of being killed every day.

“In the past few weeks, two tribals were killed in Jiribam district. Another was abducted, and his whereabouts are still unknown.

"Homes and properties of tribals are still being burned and destroyed, one year after the start of the conflict. To date, almost 200 tribals have been killed and more than 7,000 homes destroyed,” it said.

The tribal body said that in the recent flare up of violence in Jiribam district, around 50 homes and shops belonging to tribals were burned down.

“For more than a year, supplies of all goods, including essential items, have been blocked from entering tribal areas. Even basic hospital items like cotton swabs often run out. This has severely affected the quality of life for tribals.

"All development activities, including maintenance and repair of public infrastructure, have grinded to a halt for the past year in tribal areas, while all Meitei-controlled valley areas enjoy state patronage,” the statement said.