The National Federation of Indian Women (NFIW) released a press statement on Monday (July 3) cdemanding the disarmament of all groups and individuals responsible for creating violent disturbances in the state. They also called for the immediate resignation of Chief Minister N. Biren Singh.
The NFIW said it had sent a team to Manipur to conduct an on-the-ground inquiry from June 28 to July 1. Following visits to Imphal, Bishnupur, and Churachandpur districts, the team announced their findings, which included interactions with various individuals, including victims of violence in hospitals and relief camps.
Among those visited were Manipur Baptist Convention Centre Church and two young girls who had been brutally assaulted by a group of Meitei youths. The team also engaged in discussions with the Meira Paibis.
According to the NFIW’s statement, the team’s findings indicate that the violence is a “state-sponsored violence.”
“The violence that broke out on the 3rd of May did not occur by itself, without any buildup. There was a clear backdrop of mistrust and anxiety that was being stoked amidst both the communities by the ruling dispensation at the state and center in order to precipitate a full-blown civil war-like situation,” the statement said.
Many incidents took place in the months of March and April, 2023 which clearly indicated the possibilities of violent clashes, but the government chose to ignore it and allowed the brutal violence to happen, they said.
While the majority Meitei community looked down the Kukis as ‘uncivilised’ for decades, the constitutionally guaranteed affirmative action policies resulted in the Kukis in achieving some degree of social mobility in terms of education and entering government jobs.This mobility of the Kukis generated general anger and dissatisfaction amongst the majority Meitei community, the statement said.
Demolition of three churches at New Chekon by the state government on the pretext of the churches being built on encroach lands, Kuki villagers being evicted from Kangpokpi and Tengoupal areas and demolition of their houses in the name of Forest Preservation and Wildlife Protect and the order of the Manipur High Court to grant Scheduled Tribe status to majority Meitei community added to the fuel for fire.
While demanding immediate resignation of the Biren Singh Government the NFIW suggested High Powered/Supreme Court monitored inquiry and the process of justice.
It also proposed that buffer zone should be setup on both sides manned by the security forces as well as improvement of relief camps and expeditious continuation of education by displaced students.
The NFIW said that the state government and its machinery remain defunct in the ongoing crisis. “The criminal apathy of the Union Government exacerbates the prevailing grim situation. The current inaction and the preceding selective actions are what is sustaining the unabated violence, of whose worst victims are the women and children of Manipur,” it added.