Friday, June 2, 2023

IWFNEI, AIPP condemn violence in Manipur

Indigenous Women Forum of Northeast India (IWFNEI) and Asia Indigenous People’s Pact (AIPP) have expressed deep sorrow at the outbreak of ethnic violence in Manipur and the carnage that followed.
Strongly condemning the reprehensible violence and calling for an immediate end to it, Khesheli Chishi and Chanmayo Aier of IWFNEI and AIPP respectively in a statement said the events that unfolded had brought to light the totally inept handling of the situation by the State government and its highly questionable role that resulted in loss of lives and properties, displacements, burning of places of worship and other numerous human rights violations, all of which constituted blatant crime against humanity.
They noted that Manipur had been rife with ethnic tensions for long due to divisive majoritarian politics, social discrimination, inequitable distribution of development funds and lack of transparency in recruitment to government jobs. Besides, they alleged that existing major issues such as immigration, land and territorial rights, drugs and contraband trafficking in Indo-Myanmar border over the years and the ambivalent attitude of successive governments and their failure to appropriately address these problems had ultimately culminated in the current violence.
According to the duo, the modern day politics of Manipur was shaped by divisive vested interests that resulted in eliminating any common ground among the people. However, they stressed that dealing with the current violence must also necessarily deal with the conditions that created them. To bring about healing, they insisted that politics must emphasise the common good and cooperation as part of the search for meaningful reconciliation or, they cautioned that it would be yet another divisive politics. They said this would offer an alternative perspective that could help people find a common ground towards cooperation and understanding.
While appealing to all parties to restrain from hateful speech and provocative misinformation for normalcy to return, the duo emphasised that peace and reconciliation efforts would not yield results or solve the problem unless the political reality was objectively accounted for with sincerity and honesty.
“This demands immense courage from all parties, and we further appeal to all communities, leaders and right-thinking people to reason together to find a common ground for long-term reconciliation. To start with, we must admit that violence is not the answer and we must refrain from it,” the statement mentioned.
They said they were encouraged by the heroic acts of those, whether government officials, security forces or ordinary citizens, who saved lives without discriminating and acted purely on humanitarian grounds. Their bravery and humanity were the light of hope even in dark times such as this, they added. Further, they called on the Manipur government to act with wisdom and refrain from indulging in divisive politics and blatant abuse of power and authority. Further, demanded a high-level independent judicial inquiry into the incident to win back the trust and confidence of the people and to secure justice.
They said it was also the responsibility of everyone – right thinking individuals, CSOs and government organisations – to wholeheartedly support and help in rebuilding the lives of victims of violence and restore peace by rising above narrow sectarianism.


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