How Meitei and Kuki organisations plan to observe 1 year of ethnic violence show there is no remorse

Kohima: Post for mediators who would, without taking sides and without ulterior motives, facilitate reconciliation between Meiteis and Kukis lay vacant

BY | Friday, 3 May, 2024

Today marks one year of living in conflict, bloodshed, fear and sorrow for citizens of Manipur. One year since clashes broke out between the Meitei and the Kuki communities in the State, over 200 people killed, villages burned and plundered, over 60,000 people displaced and thousands living without basic necessities, one would think that the leaders of both communities, the State and the country would retrospect and make serious efforts to take a hold of the situation. However, it is a pity that seems unlikely.

After one year, the Prime Minister seems to be in denial of the fact that all is not well in Manipur, the Chief Minister is still biased towards his own Meitei community while leaders of both communities remain intolerant and vindictive.

The post for mediators who would, without taking sides and without ulterior motives, facilitate reconciliation between the Meiteis and the Kukis lay vacant as the conflict completes one year. Nobody has been able to rise up to fill that position. It is as if the two communities have been intentionally forsaken.

On 3rd May, the apex organisations of both the Meiteis and Kukis have made their own plans, however, words such as forgiveness and reconciliation elude their statements.

Meitei’s Coordinating Committee on Manipur Integrity (COCOMI) has declared that on 3 May 2024 it will be holding deliberations under the theme ‘365 days of chin Kuki Narco Terrorist Aggression in Manipur’ at Imphal where scholars, intellectuals and others will discuss why the crisis could not be brought to an end and the reasons behinds. COCOMI has asserted that the war is against Kuki Narco terrorists and not Kuki people in general.

The Kuki Inpi Manipur (KIM) will observe the day as ‘Kuki-Zo Awakening Day’, “symbolising the newfound socio-political consciousness of the Kuki-Zo people”. KIM says 3 May is a “day of profound awakening for the Kuki-Zo people, emerging from the depths of systemic persecution and oppression perpetrated by the Manipur State Government”, “a day for the Kukis to reconsider our principles on coexistence; rewrite history, redirect our priorities and reevaluate our strengths and weaknesses”

Thoubal Amasung Kakching District Apunba Lup (TAKDAL) declared that the Meitei association will observe the day as ‘Manipur Solidarity Day’ and appealed the public to light lamps in solidarity to the victims.

The Indigenous Tribal Leaders’ Forum (ITLF) has called for total shutdown in Churachandpur district and has also urged the public to hoist black flags as a mark of remembrance and solidarity.

Committee on Tribal Unity (CoTU) has also called for complete shutdown in Kangpokpi district and has directed the public to put up black flags at their houses and vehicles. Both CoTU and ITLF have planned public events in their respective areas.

Every party believes themselves to be victims filled to the brim with self pity. It is a wonder if at any time, the thought crosses the minds that maybe just maybe they are equally to blame.

It is often said that only justice will bring peace but this idea of justice is frightening. When all sides are certain that they are the ones who deserve justice, lives are lost, houses are burnt, common people have to flee, children have to miss school and unimaginable atrocities take place.

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