Manipur: Mega rally in Imphal against Kuki demand for separate administration
A massive rally was organised in Imphal on Saturday (July 29) in protest against the demand for a separate administration for areas inhabited by the Kuki community.
Tens of thousands of people from across five valley districts of the state participated in the rally, demanding the territorial integrity of the state where ethnic riots began in early May.
The protest march was organised by the Coordinating Committee on Manipur Integrity (COCOMI), the apex body of Imphal Valley-based civil society organisations of the Meitei community. It began at Thangmeiband in Imphal West district and culminated at Hapta Kangjeibunand in Imphal East, covering 5 km.
Holding aloft placards, demonstrators raised slogans against those who demand a separate administration and against “illegal immigrants from Myanmar”.
The demonstration was held on a day when a delegation of 21 MPs from the Opposition alliance INDIA arrived in Manipur to assess the ground situation.
The Kuki demand
Notably, 10 MLAs from the Kuki community in Manipur had, in May, demanded a separate administration, stating that the administration had miserably failed to protect the Chin-Kuki-Zomi tribals.
Kukis, who have demanded a separate administration, have, however, not made clear the definition of a separate administration or the areas which they want in it.
The committee that organised the rally was also against the ongoing talks, reportedly being held in Delhi, between a home ministry team and former Kuki militants.
Sarat, a protester who came from Bishnupur district, said, “After almost three months of arson, killings, and torching of our houses, how can we give up our land?”
K Gandhi from the Uripok area, who participated in the rally, said, “We want the army to take action against militants.”
The demonstrators held a meeting at Hapta Kangjeibunand and demanded the implementation of the National Register of Citizens and convening of a special Assembly session before August 5 to discuss ethnic violence in the state.
More than 160 people have lost their lives, hundreds injured, and some 60,000 internally displaced since ethnic clashes broke out in Manipur on May 3. The violence apparently started after a Tribal Solidarity March was organised in the hill districts to protest against the Meiteis’ demand for Scheduled Tribe status.
Meiteis, who account for about 53 per cent of Manipur’s population, live mostly in the Imphal Valley. Tribals — Nagas and Kukis — constitute another 40 per cent of the population and reside in the hill districts.
(With agency inputs)