A people’s convention, organised by the Coordinating Committee on Manipur Integrity (Cocomi) in Imphal on Wednesday, “declared a war” on narco-terrorists, which they believe are behind the ongoing unrest in the state.
Cocomi is a conglomerate of five leading civil society organisations of Manipur and was formed in 2019 to safeguard Manipur’s territorial integrity.
Cocomi spokesperson Athouba Khuraijam told The Telegraph that narco-terrorists are the people involved in drug business, militancy and opium cultivation.
“They enter from the Kuki-Chin area of neighbouring Myanmar in coordinaion with drug cartel in Manipur’s hill areas. An NGO had filed a PIL in the Supreme Court last month in this connection. These narco-terrorists are to be blamed for the ongoing unrest,” he said.
According to Khuraijam,most Meitei organisations feel growing influx has created trouble for the indigenous people in the state, and it is also seen as a threat to national security.
Explaining the reasons for the war on narco-terrorists, Khuraijam said: “Even after a month, the government of India has failed to contain and control the narco-terrorist aggression in Manipur, and the attack on Meitei civilians. One Assam Rifles, one BSF and two police personnel have also been killed in the unrest. Because of the central government’s inability to control the violence, the people’s convention declared the war on narco-terrorists.”
He added: “It is a war now but it is not aimed at any community (read Kuki). In this regard, the convention also appealed to other ethnic communities in Manipur to join hands and help in this war in whatever way possible. As the war has been declared, the convention has also declared a public emergency, meaning there will be no celebration of festivals and leisure activities such as picnics and concerts. Essential and administrative services will continue as usual.”
On Wednesday, the Kuki Women Forum, Delhi & NCR, too, organised a silent and peaceful protest outside Union home minister Amit Shah’s residence and subsequently at the Jantar Mantar, seeking the security of the Kuki people while displaying placards that read “Kuki Lives Matter” and “Save Kuki Lives”.
An office-bearer of the Kuki Women Forum, who did not wish to be named, told The Telegraph that the Centre needs to be more proactive in controlling the unrest.
“We know the home minister went to Manipur and took stock and appealed to all sides to ensure peace and ceasefire for 15 days. Our (Kuki) leaders were ready but there were attacks from Meitei radical groups while Amit Shah Ji was still in Manipur!” the office-bearer said.
She further said: “Since May 29, more than 56 Kuki villages were burnt down by Meitei groups. This has to stop. The Centre has to stop it.”
The Kuki Women Forum has submitted a three-page memorandum to Shah for immediate intervention “to stop the violence against Kukis by Manipur armed forces and Meitei terrorists”.
They have demanded total protection for Kuki villagers by “putting a line of military outposts along the foothills of the valley to act as a buffer zone between the Kuki and Meitei communities”.
The forum, the office-bearer said, also wanted the Manipur state armed forces to operate within the valley, to conduct combing operations against the Arambai Tenggol and Meitei Leepun, two “radicalised” Meitei groups, clear the valley of all illegal and looted arms and to transfer all Meitei officers and jawans of Indian Army and CAPF outside Manipur.
“Unless the above actions are taken immediately by your good office...all Kuki villages in Manipur will be wiped out..,” the memorandum to Shah said.