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Amid spill-over conflict in Jiribam, Meitei-Kuki groups question Centre's role in tackling the violence

Co-ordination Committee on Manipur Unity (COCOMI), a forum of major Meitei organisations on Tuesday stated that the Centre was taking a 'passive stance' in tackling the situation.
Last Updated : 11 June 2024, 15:49 IST
Last Updated : 11 June 2024, 15:49 IST

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Guwahati: Amid the Meitei-Kuki conflict spreading to hitherto untouched Jiribam district, influential organisations representing the two ethnic communities have questioned the role played by the Centre and the central agencies in tackling the conflict in Manipur.

A day after two influential organisations representing the Kuki community, Kuki Inpi Manipur and Indigenous Tribal Leaders' Forum (ITLF) alleged that the Centre and central security forces of being partial, Co-ordination Committee on Manipur Unity (COCOMI), a forum of major Meitei organisations on Tuesday stated that the Centre was taking a "passive stance" in tackling the situation.

"The Central government's neutral stance amidst the attacks by Kuki terrorists has not only compromised the safety of the state's citizens but also undermined the authority of the state government. The refusal of the central forces to assist the state forces to retaliate or defend suggests and implicit support for the Kuki groups by the Indian state against the interest of its own state, fuelling further violence," said a statement issued by COCOMI's media co-ordinator, Y. Surjitkumar Khuman on Tuesday. The COCOMI referred to the attack on an advance convoy of CM N. Biren Singh on Monday by suspected Kuki armed persons on the NH-37 connecting Imphal and Jiribam. Two persons including a policeman received bullet injuries in the ambush.

Manipur police said Kuki insurgents were involved in the attack following which some bunkers used by the Kuki armed persons were demolished. Jiribam which remained untouched by the violence since May last year, turned tense after a Meitei person was found dead on June 6. Houses were torched and police outposts were set on fire following the incident. Hundreds of people belonging to Meitei, Kuki, Muslims and other communities have fled Jiribam fearing further escalation.

Kuki Inpi on Monday said that the National Investigation Agency (NIA) was adopting "pick and choose" policy and arrested only the Kuki persons alleging their involvement in the attack on the Meiteis. It said the NIA failed to initiate action against various Meitei insurgent groups despite numerous video footages and clips of such attacks being shared by such groups on social media platforms. "The investigating agencies must unhold the principle of integrity by conducting fair and impartial investigations and not succumb to the false narratives propagated by the Meitei community from the Valley," it said. The ITLF also made similar allegations against the NIA a day after the agency arrested Lunminsel Kipgen, an alleged Kuki insurgent for his alleged involvement in the killing of four Meiteis in Bishnupur district in January last year. The agency earlier arrested another Kuki person alleging his involvement in the conflict since May last year in which 225 people have died and over 60,000 others displaced.

An official in a central securtiy agency, however, told DH on Tuesday that the central forces were playing "neutral role" to prevent further escalation of the situation. "We have been tasked to maintain law and order and stop the violence. We have been trying to do the same. It is upto the government to end the conflict through talks or whatever way it feels appropriate," said the official.

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Published 11 June 2024, 15:49 IST

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