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Manipur’s Struggle for Integrity: The Message of Yesterday’s Rally

by Editorial Team
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Manipur’s Struggle for Integrity: The Message of Yesterday’s Rally

Yesterday, the streets of Imphal witnessed a powerful demonstration led by the Coordinating Committee on Manipur Integrity (COCOMI). The rally, which began from Thau Ground in Imphal West, was a poignant reminder of the ongoing ethnic conflict and the fervent desire to maintain Manipur’s territorial integrity. This editorial delves into the complex issues surrounding this conflict and the broader implications for the state and its people.
The rally’s primary objective was to oppose the demand for a separate administration by the Kuki-Zo community. This demand has been a contentious issue, with significant political and social ramifications. The rally saw participation from hundreds of students and influential figures, underscoring the gravity of the situation and the deep-seated commitment to the state’s unity.
The rally’s organizers emphasized its purpose: to protect the integrity of Manipur and to prevent the Government of India from dividing the state. This sentiment resonates with many Manipuris who fear that the administrative split proposed by the Kuki-Zo community could lead to further division and conflict.
The Kuki-Zo community’s demand for a separate Union Territory with its legislature, under Article 239A of the Indian Constitution, has been a focal point of the conflict. Their grievances are rooted in a sense of marginalization and the desire for greater autonomy. However, the demand has been met with significant opposition from valley-based groups, who see it as a threat to Manipur’s integrity.
The protesters also voiced concerns about the ongoing combing operations aimed at recovering weapons. They argue that these operations are disproportionately targeted at the valley regions, leaving the hill districts relatively untouched. This perceived bias has exacerbated tensions and fueled feelings of injustice among the valley-folk.
The rally also saw the participation of Meira Paibi groups from all valley districts, along with other women’s civilian groups. Their presence added a significant dimension to the protest, highlighting the role of women in the fight for justice and integrity. The student groups, too, played a crucial role, with slogans calling for “justice” and an end to “India’s attempt to exterminate indigenous communities.”
The rally in Imphal came just days after the Kuki-Zo tribal communities held massive rallies in the hill districts, urging the Union government to expedite their demand for a separate administration. This juxtaposition of protests underscores the deep divisions and the urgent need for a resolution that addresses the concerns of all communities involved.
The ethnic conflict in Manipur is a complex and multifaceted issue that requires a nuanced approach. It is essential for the government to engage in dialogue with all stakeholders and work towards a solution that ensures peace and stability. The demands of the Kuki-Zo community for greater autonomy must be weighed against the need to maintain the state’s territorial integrity. At the same time, the concerns of the valley-based groups about biased combing operations and administrative failures need to be addressed to foster trust and unity.
In conclusion, the rally organized by COCOMI is a testament to the deep-rooted desire among many Manipuris to preserve their state’s integrity. It also highlights the urgent need for the government to address the underlying issues that have led to this conflict. Only through inclusive dialogue and equitable policies can lasting peace be achieved in Manipur. The path to resolution may be fraught with challenges, but it is imperative for the future of the state and its people.

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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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