'Meiteis were already inhabiting CCpur before Kukis came'
ITLF held responsible for inciting clash

Source: The Sangai Express

Imphal, June 05 2023: The Indigenous Tribal Leaders Forum (ITLF), a forum formed not long ago backed by KNO and UPF had allegedly incited the present crisis, asserted All Manipur Meitei Defence Committee of India.At Manipur Press Club this afternoon, committee's president A Kulla said the committee holds the ITLF responsible and it has alleged proof that the forum had incited violence even before May 3 .

"Chief Minister N Biren Singh was invited to inaugurate an open gym at Churachandpur on April 28 by MLA Vungzagin Valte, MLA LM Khaute, MLA Paolienlal Haokip and MLA Letzamang Haokip.

I was among a crowd of around two thousand people including members of OBC Morcha District Committee who were waiting for the arrival of the Chief Minister at the New Lamka Community Hall.

ITLF held responsible for inciting clash
ITLF held responsible for inciting clash

"While we were waiting for the Chief Minister, volunteers of the Indigenous Tribal Leaders Forum started pelting stones and disrupted the ceremony.

We have evidence to support this," Kulla said.

Stating the open gym was vandalised and burnt before inauguration by the Chief Minister, Kulla said the volunteers and the mob at Churachandpur were violent and they had started the burning first.

Stating that the Meiteis have been falsely accused of starting burning first, Kulla said, they had started burning houses of Meitei people first.

On May 3, houses belonging to the Meitei community in Churachandpur district were burnt to ashes forcing thousands of Meitei people to flee for their lives.

Lives were lost and hundreds of houses and properties were burnt.

They had also started targeting and vandalising places of worship of the Meitei community first, Kulla said.

Asserting that they [Kuki] treated the Meitei community in Churachandpur as "foreigners", Kulla said Churachandpur was originally and first inhabited by the Meitei people long before they [Kuki] arrived.

Meitei inhabited places like Kumbi Pukhri, Mata Lairembi and Khumujamba Meitei Leikai etc are still there.

Hmar started inhabiting and dominating at Khumujamba Meitei Leikai and started building Chur-ches, he said.

While the Meiteis were already inhabiting Churachandpur, the Kukis, Hmar, Zou, Paite, Simte, Gangte etc arrived much later in 1883 and afterwards.

They were not called Kuki back then.

They were then called separately as Thadou, Khongsai, he added.

Talking about the present crisis, Kulla said the violence, attacks on the people and burning of houses have killed many and thousands of Meitei people from Churachandpur and other areas have fled and are taking shelter at relief camps opened across the valley districts.

These displaced people want peace to return and they want to go home, he said, expressing hope that the Centre would bring normalcy and solve the crisis.

"We welcome Union Home Minister Amit Shah's assurance to protect Manipur's integrity and form a peace keeping force," he said, urging and reminding the Union Home Minister to keep his promise and act on them.

If Manipur's integrity is threatened, Meitei Defence Force will face and fight all forces against it, Kulla added.

Further on the influx of illegal immigrants and poppy trade, Kulla asserted that there were large scale poppy plantations in Dampi Reserved Forest area in Saikot Assembly Constituency.

"The village chiefs collected Rs 3,000 each from all Kuki immigrants who crossed the border from Myanmar and they were allowed to build houses on the land by way of lottery.

When the Chief Minister disrupted this, they were angry and they had asserted that it was their forefathers' land they would do anything they want in their land," Kulla claimed, adding the Meitei Defence Committee can't agree to the claim of the Kukis that the land belong to them and their ancestors.

"At present, the Chief Minister and Union Home Minister are urging people to defuse tension and bring peace.

We also want peace to return, but it should be crystal clear that we, the Meiteis, are the indigenous people and we are no refugees.

People who crossed the border into Manipur recently shouldn't and can't claim ownership of the land," Kulla said.

Stating that houses belonging to the Meitei community in Churachandpur have been destroyed and flattened to the ground using bulldozers, Kulla said the Central Government and the State Government must rebuild those homes and members of the households should be given appropriate jobs to sustain their livelihoods.

The Government must strictly check the influx of Kukis from Myanmar.

Foreigners shouldn't be allowed to build houses in Manipur and all illegal immigrants should be detected and deported, Kulla said.

As the SoO Kuki militant groups have been declared as terrorists, the State Government should no longer consider it necessary to talk to them.

The Government must not talk to terrorists, Kulla added.

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