GUWAHATI: As the ethnic clashes between Kuki-Zomi-Hmar communities with Meiteis entered five months, the Zomi Council Steering Committee (ZCSC), representing the nine Zomi tribes of Manipur, on Wednesday urged Prime Minister Narendra Modi for an early political solution to the vexed issue.
In a memorandum to the Prime Minister, the ZCSC also clarified that there is no infiltration of Kuki-Zomi-Hmar people from Myanmar and Bangladesh and to wage war against the Indian government.
Highlighting the ever-changing situation in Manipur, the ZCSC said the Meitei community under the leadership of Chief Minister N Biren Singh aimed at discrediting the Zo people with their concocted narratives, with the latest one being the Chief Minister’s public statement that infiltrators from across the border are responsible for the current ethnic clashes in Manipur.
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The ZCSC denied any outside involvement in the ongoing ethnic conflict in Manipur and said such a narrative is not supported by the reality on the ground. “Such a fictitious narrative is most unfortunate as it completely misplaced the intent, purposes, and mechanism of the Meitei’s national war on the Zo people of the state.
The memorandum suggested the Central government look beyond the Meitei narrative as all these are outcomes of internal strife within the Meitei community, and are merely the Chief Minister’s desperate moves to prolong the conflict and derail the peace process with the Zo armed groups under Suspension of Operation (SoO) with the Indian government.
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The memorandum further highlighted the concerted efforts of the Manipur government to prevent infiltrators into the state including the immediate sealing of the border checkpoints and tightening of security at the start of the Spring Revolution of Myanmar in early 2021 and the cancellation of the Free Movement Regime (FMR) provisions to restrict all forms of movement from both sides of the boundary and setting up of a cabinet committee to look into the issue of infiltration. The official state data published in April this year reported only 2,480 Myanmar refugees in all the hill districts of the state, out of which some were deported, and around 173 from Lamka were sent to Sajiwa Jail in Imphal.
The memorandum further outlined the Zomi community and its national organisations (Zomi Re-unification Organization/Zomi Revolutionary Army) cherished the democratic principles of India and sought political solutions within the Constitutional Framework of India.
“The accusation that there is a foreign hand in the ongoing conflict is a mere diversionary tactic to mask the decades-old anti-India armed movement of the Meitei community. The radicalization and militarization of the Meitei society in the current conflict, and their collective desires to reclaim the pre-merger status of Manipur require urgent attention of the Indian government,” the memorandum stated.
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The ZCSC also said the reluctance of the state government to make any substantial effort towards recovering 6,000 plus ‘looted’ sophisticated arms and 6 lakh plus ammunition is nothing short of an unstated message to the nation that the Meiteis are preparing to finish the Zo people and wage war against the country.
“The malicious hate and misinformation campaign launched against the Central security forces by the Meitei community further exposed the community’s true intent,” it said.
Acknowledging that narratives surrounding the incidents in Manipur have been manipulated by various parties, leading to misinformation and confusion, the memorandum said the necessity of the Indian government to critically assess any information presented and refrain from conclusions without concrete evidence.
The memorandum also urged the Prime Minister to withdraw NIA cases based on false narratives while ensuring justice for the Zo people, and expediting political talks with SoO groups for a separate administration (Union Territory with legislature) within the framework of the Indian Constitution.
The memorandum concluded that such an arrangement would only ensure inclusive development, durable peace, a stable borderland, and peaceful co-existence in the region.
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