Tuesday, February 27, 2024

Indigenous leaders in Manipur allege bias in police deployment amid ethnic strife

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Shillong, July 30: Amid the ongoing ethnic conflicts in Manipur, leaders from the indigenous Kuki community have expressed concerns over the Manipur government’s approach in handling the situation.

According to the Indigenous Tribal Leaders’ Forum (ITLF), a collective of tribal groups in the state, the government is deploying a large contingent of state police commandos, entirely comprising Meitei personnel, which they believe will escalate tensions and lead to more violence.

As per a report in India Today, the ITLF released a press letter claiming that the police commandos have been involved in attacking tribal settlements in border areas, particularly in the town of Moreh where Kuki-Zo tribals reside. The region has witnessed recent outbreaks of violence amid the ongoing tensions in the state.

The clashes between the Meitei community (the majority) and the tribals, particularly the Kuki community (the minority), have been ongoing since May 3 and have resulted in over 150 deaths.

The letter highlighted the alleged bias of state forces in favor of the Meitei community and quoted a news report stating that “special commando teams are being continuously airlifted to Moreh via helicopters.”

Home Minister Amit Shah had previously assured the Kuki Inpi Manipur that the police commandos would be withdrawn from Moreh, but the letter claims that more personnel are being dispatched to the town every day, contrary to the promise made.

There are also concerns that militants from groups like Arambai Tenggol and Meieti Leppun are joining the police commandos, further contributing to the tension. In protest, tribal women in Moreh are blocking the national highway to prevent the entry of the commandos into the town.

The letter strongly condemned the situation and suggested that the government deploy army and central paramilitary forces instead of state police.

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