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Manipur government, Centre responsible for prevailing scenario, say student bodies

Organisations have demanded immediate removal of Kuki militant camps, seizure of rebels’ arms, and revocation of Suspension of Operation pact signed with militants

Umanand Jaiswal Guwahati Published 15.05.23, 04:50 AM
The valley, which is largely populated by the Meiteis, is surrounded by the camps of Kuki militants, say student organisations.

The valley, which is largely populated by the Meiteis, is surrounded by the camps of Kuki militants, say student organisations. File photo

The six student organisations in Manipur pushing for early implementation of the National Register of Citizens on Saturday accused the state and central governments of being “100 per cent responsible” for the current unrest between the majority Meitei and tribal Kuki communities.

The student bodies have demanded the immediate removal of Kuki militant camps located near the Manipur valley, seizure of the rebels’ arms, and revocation of the Suspension of Operation (SoO) pact signed with the militants.


The organisations said the “small” Meitei community had been “deeply” impacted by the influx of foreigners. Earlier they had said the influx was from Myanmar and Bangladesh. The NRC is intended to sift genuine citizens from illegal immigrants.

The development comes a day after all 10 Kuki MLAs of the state, including two ministers, accused the BJP-led state government of failing to protect the Kuki community and demanded a “separate administration” for the community under the Constitution.

Several of these MLAs are from the BJP, implying disquiet within a section of the ruling party over the unrest.

A joint media statement from the six student bodies said: “The Manipur state government and the Government of India are 100 per cent responsible for the prevailing scenario.

“We demand that the camps of Kuki militants located near the valley be removed urgently and appeal to seize all their guns. The Government of India should withdraw the SoO, seize their weapons and immediate action should be taken against them according to the law.”

Clashes broke out between the mostly-Hindu Meitei and mostly-Christian Kuki communities in Manipur on May 3 over the Meiteis’ demand for Scheduled Tribe status, which is opposed by the state’s tribal communities such as Kukis and Nagas.

The Meiteis live mostly in the state’s six valley districts while the tribal communities live mostly in the hills.

The student organisations said: “The valley, which is largely populated by the Meiteis, is surrounded by the camps of Kuki militants. The Meities are facing an existential threat and the question is who will protect us.”

It added: “Although the SoO groups had signed an agreement in 2005 and have been holding tripartite talks since 2008, they have been breaking the SoO ground rules such as not bearing arms and not indulging in violence, etc. The Indian government has been letting them completely free to do anything for quite a long time.”

The tripartite SoO agreement involves the central and state governments and 25 Kuki rebel groups. The Biren Singh government had decided to withdraw from the SoO with three rebel groups in March following a clash between police and the public in the tribal-dominated Kangpokpi district but the Centre reportedly did not agree.

The six organisations that issued the statement are the All Manipur Students’ Union, Manipuri Students’ Federation, Democratic Students’ Alliance of Manipur, Kangleipak Students’ Association, Students’ Union of Kangleipak, and the Students’ Union of Kangleipak Apunba Ireipakki Maheiroi Sinpanglup.

Friday’s joint statement by the 10 Kuki MLAs — who included ministers Nemcha Kipgen and Letpao Haokip — too excoriated the state government.

“The unabated violence that began on May 3 in Manipur perpetrated by majority Meiteis tacitly supported by existing Government of Manipur against the Chin-Kuki-Mizo-Zomi hill tribals has already partitioned the state and effected a total separation from the state of Manipur,” the statement said.

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