UNC DEMANDS PR IN MANIPUR; 15 CSOS JOIN HANDS FOR PEACE
The Centre has rushed around 4,000 paramilitary personnel to Manipur in the wake of violence following economic blockade on National Highways connecting the state.
While around 1,500 paramilitary personnel were rushed in to Manipur in last two days, around 2,500 paramilitary were dispatched to the state last week, a senior Home Ministry official said today. The security personnel were sent to Manipur keeping in view the security situation in the state in the wake of violence following the economic blockade imposed by the Union Naga Council (UNC) on two National Highways since November 1.
With ethnic passions running high in Manipur, various organisations have condemned the act of communal violence unleashed by mobs who waylaid vehicles and buses transporting Nagas and torching them in a senseless act of retribution against the UNC spearheaded total road bandh since November 1,2016.
The United Naga Council (UNC) today urged the Centre for imposition of President’s rule in Manipur where an economic blockade by the organisation snapped two highways connecting the state.
The demand was placed by the UNC before Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh when a delegation of the group met here.
“We appeal for imposing President’s rule in Manipur as the state government has failed completely on all fronts and law order has deteriorated. Creation of seven new districts is a ploy by the Manipur Chief Minister for electoral gains,” senior UNC leader Adani Mao said at a press conference here.
Mao, the former UNC president, who is at present looking after the affairs of the Council after the arrest of its senior leaders, alleged that Chief Minister Okram Ibobi Singh was trying “cheap tricks ahead of polls to hide the government’s incompetency”.
Claiming that violence has taken place in several areas of Manipur, Convener for Joint Naga Civil Societies, Lakpachui Siro, accused the Congress-led state government of disrupting peace by creating seven new districts for “electoral gains” ahead of the assembly elections next year.
“The state government is going to upgrade Sadar Hills and Jiribam regions to full-fledged districts without consulting the Nagas who inhabit the areas. Precious lands, which belong to them, are being snatched away and there are unrest in the state,” he said. UNC has accused Meiteis of creating unrest in the state by killing innocent people, saying Meiteis are not only torching vehicles, burning down houses and looting Nagas, but also attacking places of worships in the state.
A tripartite talk involving a delegation each from the Manipur government, the UNC and the Ministry of Home Affairs was scheduled to be held in Delhi on November 15 on the current situation of the state but the state government did not send anyone to attend that meeting, Siro said.
In a gazette notification issued on December 9, the state government announced the creation of seven new districts for administrative convenience, taking the total number of districts in the state to 16.
The decision has sharply divided the state’s three main communities which are Meiteis, Nagas and Kukis. Though Meitei and Kuki groups have welcomed the move, the UNC has been protesting against it. The UNC claim that the decision would bifurcate ancestral lands of Nagas in Manipur.
The Chief Minister said the move was aimed at addressing a long-standing demand of the majority Meitei community and the minority Kukis.
The ongoing economic blockade by UNC launched on November 1 against the state government’s proposed move to create the new districts of Jiribam and Sadar Hills has resulted in black marketing of essential goods. Out of the nine districts of Manipur, four districts– Imphal East, Imphal West, Thoubal and Bishenpur are valley districts, and the five rest– Ukhrul, Senapati, Tamenglong, Chandel and Churachandpur are hill districts.The five hill districts are tribal districts. Valley districts are smaller with a high density of population but hill districts are sparsely populated.
Fifteen Manipur based civil society organizations have resolved to join hands and formed the “Goodwill Mission for Peaceful Co-existence (GMPC)” forum.
The organizations which includes– representatives of Tangkhul People’s Organisation, Naga People’s Union, Zeliangrong Union, Ten United Social Upliftment Khurai, HERICOUN, LIPUN, bodies of Khwairamband Keithel, Information Centre for Hill Areas Manipur, Manipur Online Forum and other Kuki based bodies in Imphal, have also agreed to hold a joint meeting on Wednesday at Imphal’s Khwairamband Keithel (Women Market).