Manipur Violence- In the northeastern state of Manipur, violence broke out during a tribal unity march on May 3, engulfing eight districts. In no time, home, office and vehicles were burnt. The state government had imposed curfew, stopped mobile internet service, the chief minister was appealing to the people to maintain peace. In view of the worsening situation, the army was deployed on the streets. And also had to order shoot-at-sight.
Friends, in today’s video, we will know that after all, what has caused this violence, to understand it well, it is necessary to look into the history of Manipur first.
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Entire Manipur is spread over an area of 22,327 square kilometers. Its 2,238 sq km ie 10.02% area is the valley. While 20,089 sq.km i.e. more than 89% of the area is hilly.
There are mainly three communities living here. First – Meitei, second – Naga and third – Kuki. Among them are Naga and Kuki tribal communities. Whereas, Meitei are non-tribals.
Naga and Kuki have the status of Scheduled Tribes in the state.
Apart from these three, there is also a Muslim population here. Along with this, there are also Mayangs coming from non-tribal community who have settled here after coming from different parts of the country.
The root cause of the violence in Manipur is the fight for rights. Means which community can have where and how much authority or dominance.
Understand it like this that the population of Meitei community is more than 53 percent here, that means Meitei community is in majority, but they can settle only in the valley which is only 10 percent of the state, they cannot settle in the hills.
At the same time, the population of Naga and Kuki community is around 40 percent and they are settled in hilly areas, which is 90 percent of the state’s area.
There is a law in Manipur, under which some special provisions have been made for the tribals. Under this provision, only tribals i.e. Kuki and Naga settled in hilly areas.
Since the Meitei community does not have the status of a Scheduled Tribe, that is why they cannot settle in the hilly areas. Whereas, if the Naga and Kuki tribal communities want, they can live in the valley areas as well as in the hilly areas.
And this provision is the real reason for the dispute between Meitei and Naga-Kuki. That’s why Meitei also demanded to be given Scheduled Caste status.
The Meitei community of the state is settled in the Imphal Valley and its surrounding areas. The community has been alleging that they are also facing problems due to illegal infiltrators from Myanmar and Bangladesh in the state.
At the same time, under the existing law, they are not allowed to settle in the hilly areas of the state. This is the reason why the Meitei community filed a petition in the High Court, pleading to include them in the tribal category.
The petitioner in the court said that they were listed as tribes even before it acceded to India in 1949. But after the drafting of the constitution in 1950, they were excluded from the ST list.
On this petition, on April 19, the High Court gave its verdict and asked the state government to consider the demand of granting Scheduled Tribe status to the Meitei community. After this order of the High Court, the demand to include the Meitei community in the ST category started intensifying.
The All Tribal Students Union of Manipur (ATSUM) had taken out ‘Tribal Unity March’ on May 3 in protest against this demand being intensified by the Meitei community.
This march took place in Torbang area of Churchandpur district. Thousands of protesters participated in this rally. According to reports, violence started between tribals and non-tribals during this period. By evening, the situation worsened and incidents of violence kept happening throughout the night.
Indian boxer Mary Kom also tweeted to the country’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi at around 3 am, “My state Manipur is burning. Please help.” Tagging Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Prime Minister’s Office, Home Minister Amit Shah and Defense Minister Rajnath Singh in this tweet, he shared a photo of arson in Manipur and pleaded for help.
Amid the ongoing violence, Chief Minister N. Biren Singh also appealed to the people to maintain peace and said that these incidents of violence happened because of misunderstanding between two sections of our society.
Now let us understand why the All Tribal Students Union of Manipur is opposing the demand for Scheduled Tribe status to the Meitei community.
According to media report, All Tribal Students Union of Manipur (ATSUM) has expressed apprehension that if the Meitei community gets ST status, they will grab all land in hills.’
The union argues that the Kuki community needed protection because they were very poor, had no education, and no means to earn a living. He was alive only on jhum cultivation.
At the same time, the Meitei community alleges that the Kuki community is angry with the state government’s action to drive out illegal immigrants settled in the mountains and forests. That’s why the violence was carried out by making an excuse of ST so that the government’s campaign against the tribals settled illegally on the mountains could be stopped.
However, the grievances of both the communities cannot be ignored. But it also has to be understood that violence cannot solve any problem. That’s why there is a need to find a solution to the problem by taking both the communities together and the leaders of both the communities can play the important role in this.