TODAY -

Drawing the battle line for Moreh at last
- The People's Chronicle Editorial :: February 19, 2024 -



IT is not something new that the people were unaware of or had not been discussed and pointed out by scholars in the past.

But now that none other than Indian Army's General Officer Commanding in-Chief of the Eastern Command Lt Gen Ram Chander Tiwari has elucidated on it, one can assume that the Government of India and its Home Ministry have not been blind to the activities of armed Kuki-Chin militants and their cohorts in Manipur's border town Moreh following the violent conflict that broke out between the Meitei/Meetei and Kuki-Chin communities on May 3 last year.

When the Army officer pointed out that a cosmopolitan border town like Moreh cannot be controlled by a single community, he is clearly sending out a strong message to the armed Kuki militants and their cohorts, who have been trying their best to keep Moreh under their control.

During a meeting with leaders of Moreh-based civil organisations on Friday last, Lt Gen Ram Chander Tiwari, who visited the border town to assess the security situation in the aftermath of surfacing some distressing video clips showing a tense stand-off between a convoy of Assam Rifles and a group of armed Kuki-Chin men, also reportedly told Kuki Inpi leaders in clear cut manner that the people of Meitei/Meetei community, who were forced to flee after their houses were set on fire, cannot be denied resettlement in the border town, just as India is made up of different communities and religions and all the people are living together in harmony, all communities in Moreh should live together in harmony like before by ending the present violence and no community who lived in the town earlier should be denied settlement.

Lt Gen Ram Chander Tiwari had also warned that necessary action would be taken up from the side of security forces if anyone disturbs or opposes the initiatives being taken to restore peace and normalcy in the border town.

While, how these strong words or statements from a top Indian Army officer are received by the armed Kuki militants and their cohorts remains to be seen, it needs no reminding to anyone on the importance of Moreh not just as a hub of border trade with Myanmar but also in the larger framework of India's Act East Policy for developing strategic and economic relations with East and South East Asian countries.

But in the light of the civil war that has been going on between the armed rebel groups and forces of military junta in the neighbouring country, the urgency of securing Moreh and sanitising it of the armed elements whose writ runs large has been felt more than ever today.

How the Kuki-Chin militants have been trying to take complete control of the border town, which used to be described as a mini-lndia with people of different communities co-existing harmoniously, first by chasing out the Nagas during the 1990s and now the Meitei/Meetei people, whom they perceive as formidable forces that stand in the way of realising their objective, is not a secret privy to some select people anymore.

From crying hoarse against the deployment of state security forces to launching persistent armed attacks, Kuki-Chin militants have been doing everything possible to tighten their grip on Moreh with arms and muscle support from across the international border.

So, in the light of all these disturbing developments, which, if left unattended, would lead to far-reaching impact not only on the social fabric of Manipur but also on the efforts of Government of India to secure the country's borders against hostile interests, it is good to know that the General Officer Commanding in-Chief of the Eastern Command has finally drawn the battle line to secure and sanitise Moreh even if it has come more than nine and half months late.



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