Will return awards to govt if Manipur’s territorial integrity is compromised: Sportspersons

Imphal: Sportspersons demand revocation of the Suspension of Operation (SoO) agreement with Kuki militant groups

BY | Tuesday, 30 May, 2023
S Mirabai Chanu, Padma Shri and Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna awardee

International and national award-winning sportspersons from Manipur Tuesday said that they will return the prizes given to them by the government if the state’s territorial integrity is compromised.

Eleven of them will submit a memorandum to Union Home Minister Amit Shah on the issue during his ongoing s tour of the state.

L Anita Chanu (Dhyan Chand awardee), Arjuna awardees N Kunjarani Devi (Padma Shri), L Sarita Devi and W Sandhyarani Devi (Padma Shri awardees) and S Mirabai Chanu (Padma Shri and Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna awardee) are among the 11 sportspersons.

“If Amit Shah does not give us an assurance about the protection of the integrity of Manipur, we will return our awards given by the Indian government,” Anita Chanu said at a press conference here.

If the demand is not met, then the sports persons will not represent India in the future nor will they train any budding talent, she added.

The 11 sportspersons went to submit a memorandum to Shah addressed to Prime Minister Narendra Modi but could not do so as the union home minister had left for Churachandpur to meet Kuki victims and organisations.

“We have submitted a copy of the memorandum to Chief Minister N Biren Singh. He has assured us of arranging a meeting with Shah in the evening after his return from Churachandpur. We will handover the memorandum to him then,” Chanu said.

The memorandum is also signed by other Arjun awardees from the state. They are Oinam Bembem Devi (also Padma Shri), N Soniya Chanu, M Biojit Singh, Y Sanathoi Devi, L Shushila Devi and M Suranjoy Singh.

Read more: Ex Manipur CM Ibobi Singh asserts state’s territorial integrity cannot be compromised

In the memorandum, the sportspersons questioned the central security forces in controlling the violence despite “Kuki terrorists challenging the integrity of Manipur’ by killing people and burning houses.

“We condemn such attacks on unarmed civilians, specially in the peripheral areas of the valley districts,” they added.

The sportspersons demanded revocation of the Suspension of Operation (SoO) agreement with Kuki militant groups, restoration of peace and normalcy at the earliest and protection of unity and integrity of Manipur.

“The demand to disintegrate Manipur is not acceptable under any circumstances,” the memorandum said and demanded deportation of all illegal immigrants.

The sports personalities also urged the government to lift the blockade on NH 2 as it has led to skyrocketing of prices of essential commodities.

The highway runs from Dibrugarh in Assam to Tuipang in Mizoram. It passes through Assam, Nagaland, Manipur and Mizoram.

“Meiteis are allowed to settle only in the valley which constitutes just about 10 per cent of the total geographical area of Manipur. Where will they settle after some years if the present system is allowed to continue? So, allow Meiteis to settle in the hills of Manipur,” the memorandum added.

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