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Ethnic Violence In Manipur

It’s a history of injustice against the people of minority,especially women in India. We always believed we have overcome this issue,but it stayed the same throughout the century. The ethnic violence of Manipur has shocked the whole country. The torture of innocent Kuki women have left the people of India grieving.

Why did Meitei and Kuki fight? On 3 May 2023,the ethnic violence broke out in north-eartern part of India,in the state of Manipur,between the Meitei majority living in Imphal valley and the Kuki tribal community from the surrounding hills. Meiteis are mostly Hindus,while Nagas and Kukis are mainly Christian. The whole conflict began after the Kukis began protesting against demands from the Meiteis to be given official tribal status. There were 54.488 people who displaced,300 people injured and 70 people were reported dead.

Manipur women paraded naked On 4 May 2023,two Kuki-Zomi women were paraded naked by a mon of Meitei men. The younger woman was allegedly gangraped. After interviewing her mother,she reported that the father and the brother of her daughter were beaten to death because they were chasing the men who took her. No investigation took place despite being a police complaint registered in May,until a video of it surfaced on social media. The video caught the attention of many people in the country.

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Government’s respond to the viral video Even the Government of India did not respond before this video surfaced on social media. It is duty of the central Government and State Government in Manipur to respond this heinous crime immediately as it took place on 4th of May 2023 and everyone awakens on 19th July 2023,as this surfaced on social media. It is a shame for us that Government only awakens when social media activates. As Manipur is border state with Myanmar,the sensitive state like this burning from April last week to as on today. On July 2023,the Vaiphei People’s Council,Zomi Students Federation,Young Vaiphei Association and Kuki Student Federation claimed in a press conference that 7 Kuki-Zomi women have been raped since the outbreak of violence. Chief Minister Biren Singh however said there was just one case of rape that had been lodged among over 6000 FIRs. He announced arrests defending the delay in responding to the police complaint in May by claiming,bizarrrely,that hundreds of similar cases have taken place and explaining that this is why the internet has been shut.

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Survivors finally speak out Dr.Tara Manchin Hangzo- Former Member of ST commission working with Manipur Goverment was not spared during the violence. She explained her horrendous experience regarding the whole conflict. She fled Imphal with her 87-year old mother. She said in the interview,”They (Meitei mob men) had danda (sticks) and fire torches in their hands. They were screaming ‘Kill the Kukis!’. We were so frightened not knowing what to do. We were not able to take our documents or anything with us. Only with the clothes that we have in our bag we had to rush out. I have 87-year old mother who could barely walk and she was walking with a walking suit,so I was more concerned about how to get her out safely. We were so scared we saw our neighbours in the mob with whom we lived for about 60 years! How could they attack us! They knew us! How could they try to kill us?”

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Another woman named V Rosalind,who was a teacher,fractured her leg while escaping. She shared her traumatic episode. She said,”My son had to carry me on a piggy bag from 2-3 storey building to escape from these people. Then from the place where we were evacuated to the army camp,it was quite a distance. He had to carry me everywhere in the army camp and also had to carry me for my nature calls and everything. It’s a trauma,it’s a nightmare.”

Govt. On ‘Grossest of Human Rights Violation’ The Government failed to act in this case despite many people including police having witnessed the violence. Internet bans are not the solution to lack of law enforcement and cause further harm restricting access to credible information. The Government ordered that video be removed to protect the privacy of survivors and prevent incitement to violence,even as the Supreme Court called for action against this “grossest of human right violation”. The women in the video – and everyone facing violence in Manipur – are entitled to a government that urgently acts to protect them.

Sources:

https://youtu.be/HUR-D8ZT4gI?si=AhMb9QCH2N9KriPM https://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-india-66844028 https://www.usip.org/publications/2023/06/understanding-indias-manipur-conflict-and-its-geopoliticalimplications

By, Sanjana Nilesh Wagh

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