TODAY -

Listen to the cries of conflict-hit people
- The People's Chronicle Editorial :: January 26, 2024 -



IMPLEMENTATION of National Registrar of Citizens (NRC) in Manipur with 1951 as the base year and deportation of all those people who do not have their names in the updated NRC to their respective native country or state, abrogation of the Suspension of Operation (SoO) agreement signed with Kuki militant groups and initiation of actions against armed Kuki militants who are attacking unarmed civilians and security forces alike, deportation of Myanmarese refugees currently accommodated in detention centres to Mizoram, fencing of the Indo-Myanmar border in Manipur sector, replacement of the "partisan" Assam Rifles by some order "neutral" paramilitary forces and deletion of illegal Kuki immigrants from the list of Scheduled Tribes.

These are the six demands put forth by Arambai Tenggol to not only an official team of Union Home Ministry which was in imphal recently but also during the joint meeting held with all the elected legislators of Meitei/Meetei community at the historic Kangla Fort on January 24.

As these demands are more of less similar to the resolutions adopted and despatched to Union Home Minister Amit Shah by 35 legislators of the ruling parties including Naga People's Front (NPF) three days earlier, all the Meitei/Meetei legislators including two Members of Parliament (MPs), who responded to the invitation sent out by Arambai Tenggol for a joint meeting, have unequivocally endorsed the demands along with appending their signatures and taking a pledge to protect Manipur and the interest of its people by invoking the name of Ibudhou Pakhangba, the supreme deity revered by people of Meitei/Meetei community following Sanamahism.

As per the agreement reached in the joint meeting, these demands have to been forwarded to the Government of India and persuade New Delhi to fulfil them within 15 days.

But in the event of failing to translate the demands into action within the stipulated period, then Arambai Tenggol would do everything, whether armed or unarmed, to protect Manipur.

This is, indeed, a strong stand, considering the fact that it has come from a youth-based organisation; which was floated only in 2020 with a vision to protect and promote the culture and tradition of the Meitei/ Meetei community in Manipur but is now at the forefront of facing the aggression of the armed Kuki militants following the outbreak of violent conflict between the Meitei/Meetei and Kuki-Chin communities since May 3 last year.

As we have pointed out earlier through this column, not many people within the Meitei/Meetei community even knew about the existence of Arambai Tenggol before the outbreak of current conflict, and its founder members may have never thought of even in their wildest dream that they would one day take up arms to protect the unity and integrity of Manipur as a geopolitical entity.

Failure of the elected representatives to discharge their duties and responsibilities has led to a situation where the conflict-affected people of Meitei/ Meetei community today repose more faith on the courage and ability of members of Arambai Tenggol than the assurances and promises given by their own democratically elected representatives, many of whom remained missing until summoned for a joint meeting at the historic Kangla Fort on January 24.

So, the Meitei/Meetei legislators should take the opportunity given to them for presenting the case of the conflict-affected people to the central leadership truthfully as the last chance for redeeming themselves and to win back the trust of people if they don't want to be remembered as traitors.

On the other hand, as the aggression of armed Kuki-Chin militants, who are now confirmed of getting support and aid from external forces, is increasingly posing threat to not just the internal security of the country but also raising concern of transnational security challenges, it is time for the Prime Minister Narendra Modi-led BjP government in New Delhi to listen to the cries of people for resolving the nearly nine months long conflict and restore normalcy in Manipur.



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