The chief of an organisation of the majority Meiteis in Manipur has said it is the “right time” for the government to intervene in the violence-hit state or “there will be a civil war”.
Meitei Leepun chief Pramot Singh sounded the warning during an interview with journalist Karan Thapar for The Wire news portal during which he was asked questions ranging from what his organisation represents to its role in the unrest which began on May 3.
In the interview uploaded on Tuesday afternoon, Singh said the Meiteis as a whole had not yet reacted yet and were “uniting” now.
“This is the right time that India should intervene because the blow is coming from the Meitei side as a whole. Reaction will be there from the Meiteis as a whole. If you (the Centre and the Manipur government) don’t intervene now, there will be a blow. No force can stop it. There will be a civil war,” Singh said.
He added: “But this civil war from the Meitei side, they (the Meiteis) will be able to defend. The Indian government should prepare, the Manipur government should prepare (intervene) now.... It is yet to come. May 3 was just the small spark.”
Both the central and the Manipur governments are headed by the BJP.
Like the Kuki tribals who blame the Meiteis for the unrest which has till now claimed over 100 lives and affected 45,000 people, Singh accused the Kukis of planning the May 3 attack.
The Meitei Leepun has been in the news along with another Meitei organisation, the Arambai Tenggol, since the unrest started after a solidarity rally called by a tribal students' union on May 3 in the 10 hill districts opposing the Meitei community's demand for Scheduled Tribe status.
Kuki organisations, 10 tribal MLAs and the Opposition Congress have accused the two Meitei organisations of being involved in the violence.
Pramot Singh dismissed the allegations, asserting Meitei Leepun members were helping evacuate and rescue women and children caught in the strife from Imphal’s periphery. The Meitei Leepun members were not in Imphal, which bore the brunt of the violence along with Churachandpur, Bishnupur and Kangpokpi districts, he said.
Like most Meitei organisations, Singh minced no words in branding the Kukis as “outsiders”, “tenants” and “illegal migrants”, claims the Kukis contest vehemently.
Singh said the unrest should not be seen as a “localised” Kuki-Meitei issue. “It is an India-versus-illegal immigration issue. Meiteis are thinking they are fighting foreign aggression. This problem will get worse,” he said.
According to Singh, Meitei Leepun is a cultural organisation with a “vision” to strengthen the Meitei community. He, however, said they provided basic weapons training in collaboration with rifle clubs to those who apply for gun licence.
While refuting any link between the Leepun and the RSS and the Bajrang Dal, Singh acknowledged that RSS students' wing ABVP had a “strong influence” on him personally. He also denied any link with the Arambai Tenggol but said they “are very patriotic”.