Wednesday, July 24, 2024

‘Living with Meiteis untenable proposition’, Manipur tribal body reiterates separate state demand

The Indigenous Tribal Leaders’ Forum (ITLF), an apex body of tribals in Manipur, on Monday reiterated its demand for a separate administrations (equivalent to separate state), saying that it is increasingly apparent that coexistence with the Meiteis is an untenable proposition.

Highlighting some recent incidents of violence, senior ITLF leader and spokesman Ginza Vualzong claimed that Meiteis have “driven us out of their valley, subjected us to violence, and attacked our villages… Coexistence with the Meiteis is an untenable proposition”.

“The ITLF denounces the grave injustice inflicted upon the Kuki-Zo people in the strongest terms. The selective application of justice further reinforces our demand for a separate administration,” he told the media.

Vualzong said that on October 8, a video had surfaced on the internet depicting the horrific burning alive of an unidentified man belonging to the Kuki-Zo community.

“In the distressing seven-second video, a man dressed in a black T-shirt and camouflage pants is seen being burnt, while voices in the background converse in Meitei language. Gunshots can also be heard in the video. The video is a harrowing testament to the ethnic cleansing campaign against the Kuki-Zo community by the majority Meiteis,” Vualzong said.

The ITLF vehemently condemns the shocking and barbaric incident that has recently come to light, he added.

Vualzong also said that the complicity of the Manipur government has emboldened the Meiteis to take the law into their own hands.

He said that acts such as the burning of the Anglo-Kuki War Centenary gate, the destruction of over 20 houses in Kangvai, and the killing of a pastor in Phoughakchao on May 3 ignited an ethnic war that has lasted for more than five months.

“During this period, Kuki-Zo individuals were relentlessly pursued and subjected to horrific violence. The free transfer of more than 6,000 sophisticated weapons and over five lakh rounds of ammunition into the hands of a few organisations further fuelled the aggression against the Kuki-Zo community,” the ITLF leader said.

Numerous incidents of inhumane killings of Kuki-Zo people have already garnered attention, he said.

Vualzong also highlighted some alleged incidents of attacks, including the electrocution of MLA Vungzagin Valte (the tribal legislator belonging to BJP) and the murder of his driver, the killing of Dallamthang Suantak, who was pulled out of the ambulance he was driving, the beheading of David Thiek, and the burning alive of elderly women Chingjaluan and Thiandam.

All the brutal acts against the Kuki-Zo community cannot be overlooked, Vualzong said, adding that the Manipur government’s failure to address the heinous crimes underscores its bias and exclusionary approach, which only serves the interests of the Meiteis.

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