Manipur violence : On a day when the Union Home Minister Amit Shah called for a “joint resolution of Parliament” while speaking on the no-confidence motion that was introduced by the Opposition on the Manipur violence, he also met with a five-member delegation of Kuki tribal leaders to discuss peace measures in the strife-torn state.
Defending Villages Amidst Attacks During Manipur Violence
The Indigenous Tribal Leaders Forum (ILTF) leaders, after their meeting with Amit Shah, highlighted the challenges faced by the Kuki tribal community in defending their villages against repeated attacks by Meitei groups during Manipur violence. This situation has escalated into a crisis, with the Kuki “defenders” utilizing licensed guns to safeguard their land.
Amit Shah’s Assurance of Reinforcement in Manipur violence
During the meeting, Amit Shah assured the tribal leaders of deploying additional columns of central armed forces in Manipur’s troubled areas to establish “buffer zones” and prevent further violence. This move is aimed at providing a sense of security to the affected communities.
Shifting Dynamics: Villagers as Defenders
Ginza Vaulzong, spokesperson of ITLF, emphasized that the individuals involved in the crisis are not militants, but volunteers who have come forward to protect their land. However, the situation is complicated by the looting of arms and ammunition from the state armoury by unknown groups. This arsenal has been used to target Kuki villages, leading to a call for labeling the attackers as terrorists.
The Burial Dispute
A significant point of contention between the Kukis and Meiteis has been the burial site for “martyrs.” The Kukis sought permission to bury 35 martyrs on government-owned land, but the chosen location has sparked objections from the Meitei community. The Kukis assert that this burial site holds cultural and religious significance for them.
Amit Shah’s Request and Kuki Response
Amidst this dispute, Amit Shah requested the Kuki leaders to defer the burial for now and consider shifting the burial site to avoid escalating tensions. The Kuki delegation has pledged to consult their community before making a decision on this matter.
The Complex Path to Peace in Manipur violence
Muan Tombing, General Secretary of ITLF, explained that while the Kuki community is ready to face the consequences of their request for a mass burial, they also understand the importance of listening to the government’s concerns. Amit Shah’s request to change the burial site’s location stems from worries about potential violence and unrest if the burial were to take place in the current conflict zone.
Finding Common Ground
Union Home Ministry sources confirmed that the meeting between Amit Shah and the tribal leaders was viewed as “positive.” The Kuki group reportedly agreed to consider an alternative burial ground, suggesting a willingness to collaborate for a peaceful resolution.
The Kuki delegation raised several issues during the meeting, including access for Manipur Police to tribal areas. Amit Shah assured the leaders that state police forces would be accompanied by central forces to ensure a balanced approach, especially when entering the hill areas. The tribal leaders expressed concern over the potential dangers posed by state police commandos and the need for a collaborative security approach.
Seeking Restoration of Peace
The tribal leaders expressed their willingness to work towards peace and expressed appreciation for measures to restore tranquility. However, they also emphasized the importance of addressing allegations of arms and ammunition looting by Meitei groups, underscoring the need for a comprehensive and unbiased investigation.
Amit Shah’s meeting with Kuki tribal leaders is a significant step towards achieving peace in Manipur. While the burial dispute remains unresolved, the commitment shown by both sides to engage in dialogue and find common ground is a positive sign. As the situation continues to evolve, it remains crucial to ensure the safety and security of all communities while striving for lasting peace.
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What was the main focus of Amit Shah’s meeting with Kuki tribal leaders?
The meeting aimed to discuss peace measures in Manipur amidst ongoing violence and tensions.
What is the significance of the burial dispute between the Kukis and Meiteis?
The burial dispute revolves around a chosen burial site that holds cultural and religious importance for the Kuki community.
How did Amit Shah respond to the concerns raised by the Kuki tribal leaders?
Amit Shah assured the tribal leaders of deploying central armed forces to accompany state police when accessing tribal areas, ensuring a balanced security approach.
What role does arms and ammunition looting play in the crisis?
Looting of arms and ammunition has exacerbated the violence, with the stolen weapons being used to target Kuki villages.
What does the future hold for Manipur’s peace process?
While challenges persist, the commitment of both Kuki and Meitei communities to engage in dialogue offers hope for a peaceful resolution.