Tensions rise as ‘Save Manipur' rally counters Kuki-Zo's demand for UT

Placards held by the participants read, 'Save indigenous and rightful citizens of India' 'No separate administration,' and 'Save territorial integrity of Manipur.'
The “Save Manipur Rally” was organised by the Coordinating Committee on Manipur Integrity, a conglomerate of various civil society organisations.
The “Save Manipur Rally” was organised by the Coordinating Committee on Manipur Integrity, a conglomerate of various civil society organisations.

IMPHAL: Days after the Kuki-Zo tribals in Manipur held a rally in Churachandpur town demanding Union Territory status for their community, thousands from Meitei and other non-Kuki communities took to the streets of Imphal on Friday, opposing any division of the state.

The “Save Manipur Rally” was organised by the Coordinating Committee on Manipur Integrity, a conglomerate of various civil society organisations.

Participants shouted slogans against illegal migration from neighbouring Myanmar, drug smuggling, militancy, and encroachment of forest lands.

They demanded the protection of Manipur’s territorial integrity and indigenous communities, the implementation of a National Register of Citizens, and the scrapping of all peace agreements with Kuki-Zo insurgent groups.

Placards held by the participants read, “Save indigenous and rightful citizens of India,” “No separate administration,” and “Save territorial integrity of Manipur.”

On June 24, the Kuki-Zo group Indigenous Tribal Leaders’ Forum (ITLF) had petitioned Union Home Minister Amit Shah, urging him to expedite a political solution—a Union Territory with a legislature under Article 239(A) of the Constitution for the Kuki-Zo tribals. The organisation cited the ongoing ethnic violence in the state as a reason for their demand.

The ITLF alleged on Friday that some students in the Imphal rally shouted objectionable slogans against the Kuki-Zo community. “It is evident that Kuki-Zo and Meitei cannot coexist. We must be separated. Total separation is the only solution. Peace in Manipur will only come when this total separation is officially acknowledged and formalised by the central government,” the organisation said in a statement.

Meanwhile, Manipur BJP chief A. Sharda Devi discussed the state’s situation with Shah on Thursday. “Met Hon'ble Home Minister, Mananiya Shri Amit Shah ji, for an extensive discussion on the current situation in Manipur. Conveyed the people's aspirations and urged immediate attention to bring a permanent solution and tranquillity to the state, while appreciating the ongoing efforts,” she wrote on X.

“Additionally, highlighted the need for resettling IDPs (internally displaced persons) and providing maximum support for smooth rehabilitation. He assured that the Centre is aware of the delicate situation on the ground and committed to uplifting the people's aspirations,” her post further read.

The ethnic conflict in Manipur, which broke out on May 3 last year, has left at least 219 people dead and over 60,000 others displaced.

The “Save Manipur Rally” was organised by the Coordinating Committee on Manipur Integrity, a conglomerate of various civil society organisations.
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