Thousands of Manipur citizens are displaced in Manipur and others relocated due to violent clashes between Meiti and Kuki, Zo group people that started on 3 May 2023, still not doused, till date. Even the loss of lives is reported.
Why should we feel clashes between communities is due to misunderstanding but not misgovernance?
The Manipur government enjoys the majority in the state assembly. The golden chance for a government to solve many outstanding issues is only when it is in the majority.
Yes, problems are plenty in the northeastern state. The long-standing issue of illegal immigration, reservation demand, and development concerns, can’t be ignored. The miracles don’t happen overnight.
The state of Manipur has 2 different regions- land and hilly regions. Meiti people reside in 10% land area. Kuki and Nagas stay in a 90% hilly area. The Meitis can’t settle in the hilly areas but Tribal Kuki and Nagas from hilly areas can, as per Manipur laws.
Meitis has a long-standing demand for Scheduled Tribe (ST) status, which gives them reservations in government jobs. The High Court of Manipur also recommended ST status to Meitis. Developments like these created mistrust in Kuki and Nagas regarding government intentions.
Illegal immigration from Myanmar is an issue in hilly reserve forest areas. In February 2023 the government started an eviction drive in a few hilly districts of Manipur. In March Manipur government decided to withdraw ceasefire agreements with Kuki militants. High court of Manipur also ST status to Developments like these created mistrust in Kuki and Nagas regarding government intentions.
There was growing insecurity among various groups. The violence began in Manipur when the protestors first attacked the Gym on 27 April, which was supposed to be inaugurated by CM Biren Singh.
Protesters size of more than 60,000 from tribal regions went onto the streets in large numbers on 3rd April 2023. The mass protests like this created further unrest between Meitis and Kuki & Naga people. They fought with each other and still fighting.
The answer to the conflicts lies on the ground, not in the administrative building of the government. The illegal migrant issue must be tackled, but for this Manipur government must create an environment of trust between both Meitis and Kuki & Naga people.
Quick solutions can’t happen for decade-long problems. When are you entrusted with a responsibility, deliver it with professionalism, sincerity and without bias. Manipur government must work in that direction.