‘Meiteis hate us’: Tribal group seeks ‘separation from Manipur’ after ethnic clashes

A tribal group in Manipur has sought “total separation» of the hilly areas, primarily inhabited by indigenous people, from the state days after the state witnessed violent clashes between the Meiteis and the Kukis. “Meiteis hate us,» wrote the tribal group, Indigenous Tribal Leaders’ Forum (ITLF), in a letter to the security adviser to the Manipur government.

“As it is evident and clear that the Meitei community with the help of the state government machineries has unleashed ethnic cleansing or genocide… It is proven that Meiteis hate us and we see no prospect of living together,» the tribal group wrote to the security advisor, Kuldeep Singh.

It further said, “There is a clear-cut partition of hill and valley people as the tribal living in Imphal have now returned to the tribal areas and the Meitei living in the tribal areas have gone to Imphal.»

The tribal group also alleged that there have been a number of attacks on them from two Meiteis groups – “Arambai Tengngol» and «Meitei Leepun» – and sought a ban on them.

Clashes broke out in Manipur after a ‘Tribal Solidarity March’ was organised in the hill districts on May 3 to protest against the Meitei community’s demand for Scheduled Tribe (ST) status. The violence in Manipur was preceded by tension over the eviction of Kuki villagers from reserve forest land, which had led to a series of smaller agitations.

The ethnic clashes claimed over 70 lives and some 10,000 Army and paramilitary personnel had to be deployed to restore normalcy in the north-eastern state. Shoot-at-sight orders were also issued by the Manipur government to control the situation in Manipur.

The tribal group has also sought rehabilitation of the displaced tribals.

A day ago, the house of Manipur PWD Minister Konthoujam Govindas in Bishnupur district was vandalised by a group of people claiming that the government in the strife-torn state is not doing enough to protect locals from militants belonging to another community, officials said.

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