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Kiren Rijiju’s misguided understanding of the Manipur Crisis

by Editorial Team
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Kiren Rijiju’s misguided understanding of the Manipur Crisis

The crisis that unfolded in Manipur on May 3, 2023, is not solely attributable to the Manipur High Court’s recommendation of Scheduled Tribe (ST) status to the Meiteis. Rather, it stems from a myriad of underlying issues that have been festering over time, including illegal influx, poppy plantations, illegal occupation of forest reserved and protected areas, and drug-related activities. Despite this multifaceted backdrop, the BJP-led Manipur government asserts that the Suspension of Operation (SoO) with armed cadres under the KNO and UPF has exacerbated the crisis.
As the crisis approaches nearly 10 months with no immediate resolution in sight, Union Minister Kiren Rijiju’s attribution of the crisis to the Manipur High Court’s ST status recommendation for Meiteis seems misguided. Most stakeholders, including the Central government, recognize that tensions between the Meitei and Kuki communities, compounded by the influx of illegal migrants, are the primary drivers of the crisis.
Of particular concern is Rijiju’s persistent emphasis on “negotiation” and “disarmament” as the sole means of restoring peace between conflicting groups, without addressing the state assembly’s resolution for the abrogation of the SoO with Kuki armed militants. This lack of clarity from the Union government raises questions about the efficacy of proposed peace initiatives.
Rijiju’s recent assertion underscores the political complexities at play, suggesting a prioritization of electoral gains over resolving the crisis and addressing the urgent needs of Manipur’s populace. The displacement of over 60,000 individuals and severe impacts on various sections of society underscore the pressing need for urgent solutions.
Moreover, Rijiju’s apparent suggestion for the BJP-led state government to acquiesce to the demands of Kuki armed outfits under the SoO, without addressing their violations of the agreement, raises concerns about the rule of law and territorial integrity.
In conclusion, it is imperative for all stakeholders, including the central and state governments, to prioritize dialogue within the legal framework and uphold the constitutional integrity of Manipur. Negotiations should proceed only after addressing violations of the SoO agreement and ensuring accountability for all armed militants, thereby mitigating the risk of perpetuating the crisis and compromising regional stability and integrity.

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Imphal Times is a daily English newspaper published in Imphal and is registered with Registrar of the Newspapers for India with Regd. No MANENG/2013/51092


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