Imphal, Dec 31:
In a press conference held today at Manipur Press Club, the Forum for Restoration of Peace in Manipur has expressed deep concern over the persistent communal violence in the region, which has continued unabated for the past nine months. Despite their desperate calls for peace, the situation remains dire as frequent gun battles still continue between the two conflicting groups. The Forum for Restoration of Peace in Manipur has been actively engaged in peace initiatives, attending rallies across Manipur in an effort to restore peace and tranquillity. Recognizing the complexity of the ethnic conflict, they have proposed the establishment of a “Truth and Reconciliation” committee, inspired by South Africa’s model, to mediate and facilitate reconciliation.
According to the Convenor of Forum for Restoration of Peace Ashang Kasar, the forum has been working tirelessly with various stakeholders to find an amicable solution for the disputing parties. In an attempt to garner support, the Forum has even taken its peace campaign to the national capital, Delhi, where they met with central leaders, union ministers, and intellectuals from mainland India. However, the Forum has expressed disappointment over the indifferent and lukewarm responses from the Central government. It has also criticized the state government for lacking the political will to control and halt the violence.
Moreover, according to the Forum, the two conflicting groups, the dominant Meitei and Kuki-Chin-Zo communities, have shown reluctance in embracing the peace efforts. And, the Confederation of Tribal Unions (COTU), a conglomerate of Kuki Civil Society Organizations (CSOs), has insisted that a solution should precede peace.
During a visit by Union Home Minister Amit Shah to Manipur from May 28th to May 31st, 2023, the convenor and his delegation submitted a memorandum for the restoration of peace and normalcy in the state. They proposed the formation of a broad-based peace committee, with the state Governor as the convenor. However, this committee faced delays and issues with its composition, preventing it from becoming operational.
The executive members of the Peace Forum also met with the Honorable Governor and Chief Minister of Manipur, submitting a written representation stressing the urgent need for peace to return. With 2023 drawing to a close and no signs of imminent peace, the Forum for Restoration of Peace in Manipur passionately appeals to the people of the state to unite and work towards ushering in an era of peace and normalcy.
On the eve of the New Year, Ashang Kasar expresses his heartfelt prayer for heavenly peace to descend upon Manipur, bringing about an era of peace and prosperity. They extended warm wishes for a blissful, happy, peaceful, and prosperous New Year to all the citizens of Manipur, hoping that the coming year would bring brighter days.