Even as Manipur burns, humanity thrives

Two communities clashing on the ground, with mobs on the rampage did not stop Kuki women from protecting the Meiteis and helping them get away from the angry mob, shows a ground report

Since the last few days news of violent clashes between Manipur’s Kuki tribe and the majority Meitei community have been reported which has led the government to release a ‘shoot at sight’ order. The Army has been deployed in the state and the internet has also been suspended. A BJP MLA from the Kuki tribe, Vungzajin Valte was allegedly attacked by a mob on the road and has  now been admitted to the hospital.

These clashes erupted in response to demands for inclusion of the Meitei community as a Scheduled Tribe. This did not sit down well with the Kuki community. The Meitei’s reside on lands while Nagas and Kukis are hill tribes. The Meitei have been demanding ST status for long but the hill tribes have always opposed it since they believe they will be robbed of their lands. Kukis are unhappy with the BJP government in the state due to the multiple eviction drives on their ancestral forest lands, demolition of churches, insinuations of them being illegal immigrants from Myanmar and so on. The violence spread from Churachandpur district, a hill district, to the Imphal valley as well. Mobs have been on a rampage  burning houses and vehicles. Even Kangpokpi, Bishnupur and Moreh are under attack. There are no official figures on the number  of deaths yet.

Even as this violence surges, humanitarian stories have emerged from the ground. One such story was reported by East Mojo. People from the Meitei community were stranded in Churachandpur. The women of the Kuki tribe blocked the road and did not allow mobs to move further to harm the Meiteis. The Kuki women blocked the road forming a human chain while the mob seemed charged up but they did not move forward due to the women blocking the road. The Meitei women were being evacuated in Army vehicles but the mobs were not allowing the vehicles to move out, however, the bravery and humanity shown by these powerful women possibly saved the lives of these Meiteis.

“The womenfolk lined up on the street and blocked the road, not allowing any kind of vandalism and not allowing a mob that wanted to move ahead. This is a strange message of humanity shown by the womenfolk here in Churachandpur,” EastMojo’s Kalyan Deb, who has been reporting events from ground zero, reported.


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