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Amid PM Modi's US visit, Meitei, Kuki diaspora plan demonstration in Washington to protest Manipur violence

The demonstration in the US assumes significance as the Opposition parties have condemned Modi's silence over the situation in Manipur. 
Last Updated : 21 June 2023, 12:20 IST
Last Updated : 21 June 2023, 12:20 IST
Last Updated : 21 June 2023, 12:20 IST
Last Updated : 21 June 2023, 12:20 IST

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Amid Prime Minister Narendra Modi's visit to the US, Kuki and Meitei diaspora have decided to stage demonstrations separately in Washington on Thursday in order to register their protest against the killings in Manipur.

In a statement emailed to DH, the Association of Meiteis in the Americas (AMA) said that they would stage a "peace demonstration" at Lafayette Park near the White House between 10 am to 5 pm.

"The peace demonstration at Lafayette Park is not just a mere gathering but a powerful symbol of unity, compassion, and hope. This is an opportunity for us to call upon the international community, urging them to pay attention to the grave situation unfolding in Manipur," the association said.

Also Read | As Manipur burns, Modi is America's toast

Stating that Manipur is facing an unprecedented crisis, the association said, "The entire Manipuri population of 3.5 million lives in constant fear, anger, and anxiety about their future. We strongly condemn the killing of Indian Meitei villagers and the burning of their homes, Hindu temples and Meitei churches by Kuki militants and their affiliated organizations in the hill and near hill districts. As members of the global Meitei diaspora, we cannot remain passive while our roots are tarnished by bloodshed. Everyone deserves the right to live free from violence and fear. We demand that the authorities uphold the people's fundamental human rights, including their right to dignity, education, and access to information. These fundamental rights have been unjustly deprived from the people of our community for far too long."

The North American Manipur Tribal Association (NAMTA) said their members would gather near the US Capitol Grounds at around 3.30 pm on Thursday for a vigil to condemn the violence and attacks on Kuki-Zomi communities and appeal for peace. The members of the organisation plan to again gather at around 2 pm on Saturday near the White House (Lafayette Park) on June 24 (Saturday) for a protest rally to condemn the same. "Law and order has broken down in the state of Manipur, and the conflagration has continued for over 40 days. The current situation is volatile and precarious," the association said in a statement.

The organisation will try to draw the attention and call upon the United States government, and the United Nations to extend their support by providing immediate humanitarian aid to the displaced people in Manipur," it said.

The organisation said that the Kuki-Zomi villages have been attacked relentlessly by the majority Meitei militants, aided by the state police commandos since May 3. The displaced members of the Kuki-Zomi community are facing dire consequences, with little to no humanitarian aid provided by the State government of Manipur nor the Central government of India," the association said.

At least 115 people, belonging to both the Kuki and Meitei communities have been killed since May 3 while over 60,000 others have been displaced. Over 11,000 displaced people have taken shelter in neighbouring Mizoram and Assam. The state, however, has not reported any violent incident in the past 48 hours.

The demonstration in the US assumes significance as the Opposition parties have condemned Modi's silence over the situation in Manipur.

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Published 21 June 2023, 12:20 IST

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