Kukis protest outside Amit Shah’s residence; home minister speaks to them

The protest comes close on the heels of the rally held in Delhi by Meitei community on Sunday demanding protection from Kukis

Kukis protesting outside Amit Shah's residence (photo courtesy @the_hindu/Twitter)
Kukis protesting outside Amit Shah's residence (photo courtesy @the_hindu/Twitter)

NH Digital

People from Manipur's Kuki community held a protest outside Union Home Minister Amit Shah's residence in New Delhi on June 7 against the ongoing violence in the north-eastern state, said the police.

According to the police, four of the protesters were allowed to enter the home minister's residence for a meeting and the rest were asked to protest at Jantar Mantar. They were holding placards with messages such as 'Save Kuki Lives'.

In Delhi, members of the Meitei community held a rally at Jantar Mantar on Sunday demanding protection from Kukis. They also asked the Government to check “illegal immigration” in Manipur and protect the state’s territorial integrity. The rally saw people dressed in white, raising slogans of "Long Live Manipur", and condemning the violence, asking for restoration of peace in their state. 

The rally was organised by the Manipur Coordination Committee, an umbrella group of civil society organisations and student bodies. Hundreds of Meiteis, most of them living in Delhi, took part in it. The protesters said that despite Union Home Minister Amit Shah’s recent visit to the state, the community was not feeling safe as the state administration and the security forces were “unable to protect them”.

However, they stressed that they were not targeting the Kuki community as a whole, but only the “Kuki militant groups” who, according to them, had triggered the violence by violating the Suspension of Operation (SoO) agreement with the government.

The Meitei groups have pressed with the demand to cancel the SoO pact, a tripartite agreement between the State government, the Centre and the insurgent groups (out of which the State government withdrew earlier this year). This comes even as security forces in Manipur struggle to get back the thousands of weapons looted from police armouries in the Imphal Valley area, which is dominated by the Meiteis.

However, Kuki insurgent groups have denied violating the SoO agreement.

During his recent visit to the strife-torn state, Shah had warned the “SoO groups” saying any breach will be “strictly monitored” and any violation will be met with “very severely”.

More 100 people have been killed and 310 more were injured in ethnic violence between the Kuki and Meiti communities since May 3. A total of 37,450 people are currently sheltered in 272 relief camps in the state.

Clashes first broke out in Manipur on May 3 after a 'Tribal Solidarity March' was organised in the hill districts to protest against the Meitei community's demand for Scheduled Tribe (ST) status. It came close on the heels of simmering tension in Kuki-dominated areas against several actions of the Manipur government, including crackdowns on poppy plantations and frequent allegations that the community was sheltering “foreigners” from Myanmar.

Kuki organizations have in the past underscored that due to a few instances of poppy cultivation and illegal immigration having been found, the state government had branded the entire community as “drug runners” and “terrorists”.

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