New Delhi: Incidents of violence – and deaths – continue to be reported from Manipur, even as both Kuki and Meitei groups say that they will not join the peace committee constituted by the Union government.
On Monday (June 12), the Zomi Students’ Federation alleged that a tribal civilian volunteer, 22-year-old Muansang Naulak, was shot dead by a mob in Loklaiphai village, Torbung. Naulak was out for a walk alone when the incident occurred, the Federation said. This happened as Governor Anusuiya Uikey was visiting Churachandupr.
Army sources confirmed to NDTV that Naulak had been killed and a group of people had attacked the village.
According to The Hindu, there was also exchange of fire between the two groups on Monday morning in Khamenlok near Sagolmang in Imphal East district. At least three Meitei villagers were injured, the report said.
In a statement issued on Monday, Kuki Inpi Manipur – an apex body of Kuki tribes – condemned the attack. “The acts of aggression by the Meiteis even during the visits of the Union Home Minister and the Governor of Manipur is total disregard and vilification to the Government of India’s peace plan (sic),” the statement reads.
Chief minister N. Biren Singh, whose presence in the peace committee is what made Kuki groups stay away from it, announced on Monday that the state government will build “nearly 4,000 houses” for those affected by the violence.
The Coordinating Committee on Manipur Integrity, a conglomerate of five civil society groups from Meitei-dominated Imphal Valley, has also refused to join the peace talks. “COCOMI will not take part in the peace committee unless our demand for controlling narco-terrorism aggression (by Kuki groups) is met. There should be some normalcy and violence should end for peace committee to function,” COCOMI convener Jeetendra Ningomba said, according to Hindustan Times.
Meanwhile, the Manipur Tribal Forum Delhi has said in the Supreme Court that the drug trade in the state is largely controlled by a nexus of drug kingpins who are close to top politicians, The Hindu reported. “Without specifically naming the drug lords or the communities they come from, and only by way of a sample, one prominent drug lord is a relative of the former Chief Minister of Manipur. The other prominent drug lord is a relative of the present Chief Minister,” the MTFD’s Interlocutory Application states.
On Sunday, Assam chief minister Himanta Biswa Sarma met Kuki militant groups to offer them the Union government’s peace plan, The Hindu reported. He had earlier met Meitei civil society groups.
Violence first began in the state on May 3, after ethnic tensions escalated in the wake of the majority Meiteis’ demand for Scheduled Tribe status. More than 100 people have died since then, and violence continued even during Union home minister Amit Shah’s trip to the state from April 29. There has been a breakdown of trust both between communities, and between citizens and the state.