TODAY -

Memorandum submitted to Chief Minister of Manipur : The Way Forward
- February 06 2024 : World Meetei Council / Meetei Yaipha Lup (Europe) / Global Manipur Federation -

*



To
Shri Nongthombam Biren Singh
Hon’ble Chief Minister of Manipur
CM Secretariat
Imphal - 795001, Manipur

Subject: The Way Forward – request

Hon'ble Chief Minister sir,

We the members of the Meetei diaspora, residing in India as well as other countries around the world, are writing to express our deep concern about the inability of the incumbent government of Manipur to control the on-going violence and destruction of the social and democratic fabric of our state since violence broke out on the 3rd of May 2023. The recent incidents and its spiralling escalation have raised serious questions about the government's ability to maintain peace and order in the state.

We have noticed the failures of your government on multiple aspects of what we consider a robust democracy. The list below are just a few, but not limited to, that is evident to the world at large:

1. The inability of the government to protect the lives and properties of its citizens as required by Article 21 of the Indian Constitution and also to safeguard the other fundamental rights of its citizens, this is a failure on the part of the government to carry out its duty to protect the basic human rights of its people. In some areas of the state the responsibility of the government to protect its citizens and their property now seems to have been relegated to innocent village volunteers who are standing in and sacrificing their lives and futures.

2. The government, despite belonging to the same political party, has so far not succeeded in taking into confidence and accountability of the Central government to intervene and dispense help to you, to restore normalcy, peace and order in the state. There is no clarity as to why you have failed to effectively use the Central Paramilitary forces stationed in the State in vast numbers (over 80,000 strong), to bring the violence under control and ensure security to the innocent citizens of the State.

3. Efforts to establish a functional surface transport system in the state have been unsuccessful. Being a landlocked state, the National Highways are the only viable means for the supply of essential goods for trade and commerce. Unfortunately, these vital routes are now dysfunctional, impacting the state's lifeline and economy.

4. The evident schism of divide between the two communities at dispute, whereby the failure to initiate an appropriate peace process threatens to drag other communities who are still at peace into this conflict, further exacerbating the current situation.

5. Your government has failed to maintain the integrity of a democratically elected legislature, we have seen minimal effort by our representatives to deliberate and demonstrate a collective will. 6. The crisis has been exacerbated by unresolved issues i.e. SoO (Suspension of Operation agreement between government and Kuki militant groups), poppy plantation and culling around harvesting, illegal immigration etc.

7. The visible lack of adequate resources and maintenance needs for the Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) in the relief camps raises serious questions on utilizations of allocated funds in a judicious manner.

8. Inability to control and prevent the resultant fallout of the conflict, some of which are ransom demands and extortion, militarization of civilians, dereliction of the students’ fundamental right to education, downturn and near collapse of trade and commerce.

9. The non-observance of the government's responsibility to reassure its public on a regular basis, due to the lack of communication about your plans and policies to safeguard Manipur from the destruction that has been unleashed as a result of the current conflict.

10. Your government’s lack of transparency has led to adverse national and international media ramifications whereby Meeteis has been vilified to an extent that one community has been seen as the main perpetrator, where in fact both communities are equally responsible and affected and are at loggerheads with no end in sight.

11. There is worsening law and order situation in Churachandpur, Kangpokpi, and Moreh from the evidence that a specific community still does not have a guarantee to be able to return to the place of their origin. Your government has failed to uphold Article 19(1)(d) of the Constitution which allows its citizens free movement within its territory.

12. The lack of clarity on the imposition of Article 355 is reinforcing public distrust towards the government. We have seen 2 RTI’s which point towards the absence of the imposition of the said Article, whereas you claim it has been imposed.

It has been 9 months since the current violence began and we urge you to make the people aware of your government's stance on the following issues:

1. What concrete steps is the government taking to ensure the safety and security of all communities in Manipur?

2. How does the government plan to hold accountable those responsible for instigating and perpetrating the violence?

3. What measures have been taken to compensate and rehabilitate the citizens who have directly or indirectly suffered because of the current crisis?

4. What measures are being implemented to promote inter-community dialogue and reconciliation?

5. What measures has the government set in place to counter the various negative narratives it has received in the international media as well as forums like the UN, European Parliament etc?

The evident inefficiencies of your government have led to the deterioration, degradation, and collapse of law and order, as well as the social and economic policy in Manipur which will take decades and generations to reverse. This situation marks an unprecedented challenge in the relatively short democratic history of India. It is apparent that your government lacks the capability to safeguard the constitution and protect the fundamental rights of its bonafide citizens. Therefore, we strongly believe it is high time for your government to reassess its responsibilities towards the functioning of the state and showcase the strength and effectiveness that citizens rightfully expect from their government.

We would like a proactive government which will take prompt and effective actions to reinstate law and order in the state, open the National Highways, initiate robust actions to find the missing persons immediately, and coordinate a concerted effort to destroy all poppy plantations. We urge the government to provide full support to the state police force in Moreh in terms of logistics and manpower to bolster their efforts in ending the lawlessness in Moreh.

The Government must rearrange the deployment of the state security forces at strategic locations and vulnerable areas and provide them adequate materials and resources. This is a very crucial time for the Manipur Police, Manipur Rifles, India Reserve Battalion and Village Defence Force to be engaged as part of this effort. They will help to disarm untrained local volunteers, avoid the escalating casualties and death toll, mitigate the unnecessary financial burden on affected communities and villagers by having to fundraise from the suffering public.

Furthermore, we would like the law enforcement authorities to treat the protestors humanely without resorting to excessive force. We would highly appreciate, if the government bears in mind that a majority of citizens in Manipur oppose the extension of the SoO agreement. We also urge the Government to urgently send the ethnographic and socio-economic status report of the Meeteis to the Central Government in light of the ST demand, which would showcase the harsh reality of the socio-economic backwardness common people have to endure on a day today basis as part of a trust building measure.

The people of Manipur look to the government for leadership and protection during these challenging times. It is crucial that transparent and effective measures are promptly implemented to restore normalcy in the state and it is equally important for citizens to witness these actions being taken. There is no nation building without willing citizens.

Sincerely,

Yambem Arun Meetei
Secretary General ,
World Meetei Council

Rabbie Angom
Trustee
Meetei Yaipha Lup (Europe)

Indira Laisram
Representative
Global Manipur Federation


* This info was provided by World Meetei Council who can be contacted at worldmeeteicouncil(AT)gmail(DOT)com
This article was posted on 21 February 2024 .



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