Over 7,500 people from strife-torn Manipur flee to Mizoram

Aizawl: Over 7,500 people have fled to Mizoram from strife-torn Manipur, an official said on Monday.

A total of 7,527 internally displaced people belonging to ethnic Zos, known as Kukis in Manipur, have crossed over to Mizoram till 5 pm on Monday, he said.

They have taken shelter in eight districts of the state. Kolasib has the highest number of displaced people at 2,685, followed by Aizawl (2,386) and Saitual (2,153), the official said.

A total of 164 people have taken shelter in Champhai district, 36 in Khawzawl district, 27 in Serchhip district, 19 in Mamit district and 57 in Lunglei district, he said.

The displaced people are lodged in temporary relief camps, while many others were given shelter by their relatives, he added.

Mizoram Chief Minister Zoramthanga said the unification of all ethnic Zo tribes in India, and bringing them under one administrative unit was one of the main objectives of the founders of his Mizo National Front (MNF).

Zoramthanga’s statement came close on the heels of the demand made by 10 Kuki MLAs of Manipur for a separate administration for the hill areas in their state.

The unification of Zo inhabited areas of states in the neighbourhood of Mizoram to form one administrative unit — ‘Greater Mizoram’ — was one of the demands of the MNF, Zoramthanga told party workers on Friday.

It was raised during the peace talks with the Centre, which stated that it could be done under Article 3 of the Constitution, he claimed.

He, however, said that Mizoram cannot directly interfere in the internal affairs of Manipur.

“That initiative should be taken by our kindred brothers in Manipur as the issue of unification of Chin-Kuki-Mizo-Hmar-Zomo tribes should not be imposed,” he said.

Mizoram shares a 95-km-long border with Manipur. The hill areas of Manipur adjoining Mizoram are inhabited by Kukis, who share ethnic and cultural ties with the Mizos.

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The violence broke out in Manipur on May 3 after a ‘Tribal Solidarity March’ was organised in the ten hill districts of the state to protest against the Meitei community’s demand for Scheduled Tribe (ST) status.

Meiteis account for about 53 per cent of Manipur’s population and live mostly in the Imphal valley. Tribals — Nagas and Kukis — constitute another 40 per cent of the population and live in the hill districts.

Also read | Mizoram BJP backs Kuki MLAs’ demand for separate administration

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