Manipur violence: Christian, Dalit bodies demonstrate in Punjab
Manipur riots (file photo)

Guwahati: In the backdrop of the Kuki-Meitei clashes in Manipur, the North East Indigenous People’s Forum (NEIPF) on Tuesday urged the Centre and the Manipur government to promptly act on the “gradual influx” of foreign nationals in the Northeast, which has changed the demographic profile of the region.

At least 27 members of the NEIPF reviewed the prevailing situation in Manipur during a special executive meeting held at Bhagawati Prasad Baruah Bhawan in Guwahati on Tuesday and demanded a probe on the involvement of foreign nationals in the present crisis.

All Kukis are not illegal immigrants from Myanmar. But in recent years, a huge population of Kuki-Chin migrated from Myanmar and encroached into the reserved forests of Manipur, increasing the number of Kuki-Chin population by 30% in the state, they said.

“We seriously urge the Centre to probe if foreign nationals are directly or indirectly involved in the present crisis in Manipur. Appropriate actions should be initiated if foreign nationals are involved in the present crisis,” NEIPF chairman Anut Chetia said after the meeting.

The meeting also appealed to indigenous people of the Northeast region to be alert and create a mechanism to check the settlements of foreigners as they deprive the economic growth of the indigenous communities.

“The meeting also discussed the trafficking of narcotic drugs to the region and said the contentious haul of narcotics and massive destruction of forests in the region is of serious concern for the future generations of the country. Whether narco-terrorism is linked with the mass deforestation for poppy plantation in the northeastern states, including Manipur or not, has to be defined to save the indigenous people,” the meeting observed.

As part of the anti-drug mission of the Manipur government, the police cracked down on illegal poppy cultivation in many parts of the state, alleged to be an outburst of many Kuki-Chin immigrants from Myanmar, who were involved in poppy cultivation in Churachandpur and its adjoining district.

The eviction of encroachers from the reserved forests and protected reserved forest areas was also another reason why the Kuki-Chin community revolted against the mainstream Meitei community of Manipur, it observed.

The meeting made a fervent appeal to all communities of Manipur for a peaceful and harmonious settlement. It urged all communities to stay away from any situation which might further aggravate the situation.

The meeting criticized both the Centre and the state government for their failure to bring normalcy to the state and demanded immediate and effective action to control the situation.

“We also urge both the Centre and the state governments to immediately intervene and ensure the safety of all the people and transportation of vehicles in the region, particularly the National Highway in Manipur,” Chetia said.

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The meeting further urged the government to address the daily needs of displaced people by providing them with basic amenities.

“The meeting also appealed to all communities not to resort to any form of blockade and counter-blockade of roads as all communities are inter-dependent for socio-economic day-to-day lives and survival of the indigenous people especially in remote areas,” Chetia added.

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