TODAY -

The Jiri violence
- The People's Chronicle Editorial :: June 08, 2024 -



The sudden outbreak of violence in the far away Jiribam district has once again demonstrated that there are some elements who do not want the over one year long ethnic conflict between the Meetei/Meitei and Kuki-Chin communities in Manipur to subside.

After relative peace in other parts of the strife-torn state, Jiribam went up in flame, literally, with houses set on fire, forcing the panic-stricken people on both sides of the clash divide to flee for safety since Thursday night.

The latest violence has been triggered after a 59-year-old man belonging to the Meetei community was found murdered in Phaiton village, a settlement of the Kuki-Chin people in Tamenglong district, which shares border with Jiribam.

The man had been allegedly abducted by unknown armed men from Uchathol Khasia Punji where he had gone to tend to his farm.

Following spread of the news, angry residents protested in front of Jiribam police station, demanding their licenced firearms surrendered to the police ahead of the 18th Lok Sabha elections be returned to them since the elections are over and they need the firearms to protect themselves.

It is appreciable that the district magistrates of the two neighbouring districts have taken up prompt measures to prevent further escalation of the violence along with promulgating orders under Section 144 of Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973 so as to prohibit "assembly of five persons or more, which is likely to turn unlawful, carrying of firearms, sticks... and movement of any person outside their respective residences within the revenue jurisdiction of the district".

It is also good to learn that apart from setting up a joint control room comprising officials of Assam Rifles, Central Reserve Police Force, Manipur Police and India Reserve Battalion to facilitate quick communication among security forces, the district magistrate of Jiribam has directed the superintendent of police to "identify vulnerable pockets" for deployment of security forces to avoid unwanted incidents".

While all these security measures are essential for restoring peace and normalcy in Jiribam, which is a district inhabited by people of different communities, everyone needs to stay alert of the activities of armed miscreants and elements who have time and again demonstrated their sinister designs of fomenting tension to prolong the ethnic conflict between Meetei/Meitei and Kuki-Chin communities and keep Manipur on the boil.

Despite its diverse ethnic composition, Jiribam is one place which had so far managed to remain unaffected by the ethnic conflict which has been ravaging Manipur since May 3 last year.

This has been made possible mainly due to the concerted efforts of its inhabitants who do not allow their emotions to run wild and their better sense be over-clouded.

There had been many instances in the past when the fragile peace in Jiribam district was put to the test.

But the leaders of all communities and civil society organisations came together every time and promptly sorted out any issue that might pose threat to peaceful co-existence in the district.

As such collaborative effort and co-operation are not in their interest, the armed miscreants and other elements who are inimical to the idea of Manipur as a home to people of different communities have been trying to create enmity and divide the society on ethnic lines.

So, the latest incident of murdering an innocent man in Phaiton village after abduction could very well be regarded as yet another attempt of these elements with vested interest to set one community against another.

It does not, however, mean that the involved armed miscreants should be let off the hook.

This is where the state administration and its security apparatus need to step in and show no laxity in performing the duties of not just controlling the angry protest of the people but also in tracking down the murderers to do justice to an innocent man whose name would now be included in the long list of victims of an over one year long ethnic crisis.



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