Manipur violence : Is separate administration is the only solution to Manipur violence?

In manipur, a long-running conflict between the kuki and the meitei communities has sparked extreme violence. During the ‘tribal solidarity march’ called by ‘All tribal students union manipur’ in torbung, a churachandpur district event, this violence escalated to a heightened intensity on may 3, 2023.

Background of the clash, The meitei community which constitute the 53 per cent of the total population of manipur, who spokes meitei language which is one of the 22 official language of India demanded the Schedule tribe (ST) status. The meiteis are primarily settled in Imphal valley region which is around 10 per cent land area, remaining mainpur including hill district is reside by tribals mainly kukis.

The meiteis argue that they were recognised as a tribal before the merger of Manipur with India in 1949 but lost their identity after the merger in India. As result of being left out of the ST status, meiteis feels marginalized without any constitutional protections.

All these started on April 19, 2023 when Hon. High court of guwahati directs the state governments to consider the demand of meitei community to include in ST list. Amidst prolonged clash between both the community ATSUM opposed the decision of Manipur High court and organised the Tribal solidarity march on May 3, 2023. During the violence houses were attacked, many peoples lost their lives, forcing peoples to flees from their house and central government rushing the army and central armed police force in Manipur.

From years, meiteis dominated government of Manipur have estranged spaces for kuki community who labelled as ‘poppy cultivators’, ‘out siders’. These narratives of government boost with the coming of Biren Singh as CM of Manipur. Kuki leader L haokip accuse him of propagating a fabricated story against the kuki community.

Even in 2023, Manipur’s state government began attempts to clear the forest land that resulted in the displacement of kuki villagers without any rehabilitation. In february, the state government began an eviction campaign in the district of churachandpur, kangpokpi, and tengnoupal, identifying the villagers as encroachers, which has been seen as an anti-kuki measure by the kuki community.

During the ongoing violence, kuki community have demand a separate administration. Although the other tribals, such as naga, who were also opposed the meiteis demand for ST status, did not join the kukis demand for a separate administration. Many members of the kuki community believe that a separate administration is the only solution to manipur violence.

On June 7, 2023 peoples from kuki community protest outside Home minister Amit Shah’s residence in New Delhi. Among them only 4 peoples were allowed for a meeting with home minister at his residence and remaining doing protest at Jantar Mantar where they raised slogans “save kuki lives”, ” kuki lives matter”.

Even on June 4, 2023 meiteis also protest at Jantar Mantar demanding protection from kuki militants.

So, is the only solution to this violence is in the form of a separate administration for the kuki community? And if yes, will the government create a separate administration for the kuki community?

Written by – Sudhanshu Saini

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