On Wednesday, around a thousand individuals from the tribal communities gathered at Jantar Mantar to stage a protest, urging the central government to intervene and bring an end to the ongoing communal tensions in Manipur. The demonstration was organised by the Joint UNAU Delhi Tribal Community (Kuki) to raise awareness about the situation in Manipur.
The massive crowd at the protest site sought a ‘fair inquiry’ into the violence while demanding implementation of the President’s rule and the sacking of Manipur Chief Minister Biren Singh for failing to stop the violence in the state.
Five student unions from Delhi submitted a memorandum to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, requesting protection for their lives, livelihoods, study environment, and the establishment of a separate administration at the Union Territory level.
The ethnic violence that erupted between the Kukis and the Meiteis of Manipur on May 3, 2023, continues to be one of the deadliest conflicts, with the situation worsening over the past month.
As the violence persists in Imphal, the capital of Manipur, numerous individuals have fled their homes and sought shelter in Delhi. A PhD scholar from a university in Imphal, who is also a survivor of the violence and currently residing in Delhi with relatives, participated in the march, expressing concern about the uncertain future and insecurity prevailing in Manipur.
Timothy, the spokesperson of the Kuki students organisation, alleged that a significant amount of misinformation and propaganda is being disseminated due to the lack of functioning internet connections in Manipur.
During the protest, the participants sang the national anthem and other patriotic songs, such as Sare Jaha Se Accha Hindustan Hamara while chanting slogans against CM Birendra Singh and demanding justice. A poster featuring the photos of 83 Kuki community members who lost their lives in the ongoing violence in the state was prominently displayed.
Following the protest, the five organisations issued a joint statement condemning the violence. The statement read that the students from Manipur in the national capital strongly condemn the killings, destruction of homes, churches, and properties, as well as the devastating impact on villages and the rape of tribal women from the Kuki-Hmar-Zomi-Mizo tribes in Manipur since May 3, 2023. The statement declared the attacks by suspected groups as a gross violation of human rights, uncivilized, highly condemnable, and punishable in national and international courts of law. The student organisations demanded the immediate arrest and punishment of the perpetrators and instigators of these heinous crimes. They also called for an investigation into the alleged involvement of specific groups in the planned and systematic pogrom against the tribal people of Manipur.
The statement also mentioned the recent attacks on Kuki individuals in Delhi. The organisations asserted that “witnessing such atrocities, including state-sponsored attacks on the Kuki-Hmar-Zomi-Mizo communities, the assault on Kuki students in the Mukherjee Nagar area of Delhi, and the vandalization of tribal shops in the Kishangarh area of Delhi, along with the spread of fake news, hate messages, defamation, and misinformation by some sections of the media, has shattered the peace and harmony that the tribals and Meiteis once enjoyed together.”
In conclusion, the statement demands a separate administration, stating, “To ensure peaceful coexistence between the two groups, the only viable solution is the establishment of a separate administration for the tribals under the government.”
Here is a photo feature showcasing a protest organised by members from the Kuki-Zomi-Mizo-Hmar tribes who gathered at Jantar Mantar to voice their concerns. The images captured during the protest reflect the determination and unity of the demonstrators as they seek redressal for their grievances: