Imphal, July 23:
The Coordinating Committee on Manipur Integrity (COCOMI), an alliance of major civil society organisations in Manipur, has submitted a comprehensive three-page letter to the President of the European Parliament, Mrs. Roberta Metsola. The letter expresses appreciation for the European Parliament’s recent resolutions regarding the Manipur situation, while offering vital clarifications and corrections to misconceptions presented in these debates.
The press release, signed by Jeetendra Ningomba, the coordinator of COCOMI, highlights the need to challenge and elucidate the views put forward during the Parliament’s debate on Manipur.
The statement asserts that the initial information on the Manipur violence given to the European Parliament, suspected to originate from the Chin-Kuki Narco-Terrorist Groups, was inaccurate and misleading. COCOMI felt compelled to rectify these false narratives and expose the incorrect information disseminated by these groups to the global community.
Recognising the European Parliament’s constructive intervention, the letter acknowledges the body’s first-ever resolution on Manipur and its call for action from the Indian Government. “This resolution carries significance, particularly considering the resounding silence of the Indian Prime Minister on the issue,” the letter remarks.
However, COCOMI expresses disappointment over the resolution’s overlooking of the critical issue of narco-terrorism, which it sees as a primary driver of the conflict. It also criticises the resolution’s misleading perspective, which misrepresents the conflict as being primarily between the Christian minority and the majority Meitei Hindu community.
To provide a more precise understanding of the situation, the letter lays out eight key points explaining the current state of affairs and the root causes of the heightened conflict. It emphasises that the violence is not religious but a confrontation between the immigrant Chin-Kuki Narco-Terrorist Groups and the indigenous Meitei communities.
It draws attention to the hundreds of churches belonging to about 25 ethnic communities that continue to function within Meitei-dominated areas, including the capital city of Imphal. It notes the peaceful coexistence of many Christian ethnic communities, barring Chin-Kuki groups, in Meitei-dominated areas. Furthermore, it states that 170,000 Meitei are Christian, amounting to 35% of the total Kuki Christian population in Manipur.
The letter also reveals the unfortunate ethnic cleansing of all Meitei, including Christian Meitei, from Chin-Kuki Christian dominated areas such as Churachandpur, Saikul, and Kangpokpi Districts on May 3rd and 4th, 2023. It decries the destruction of Meitei religious centres in Kuki dominated hill areas, emphasizing the impact on local places of worship integral to the Meitei community.
COCOMI urges the European Parliament to shift its focus onto the issue of Chin-Kuki Narco-Terrorism, a factor they deem crucially connected to the ongoing violence in Manipur. The alliance trusts that the European Parliament will consider these facts and reassess its perspective on the complex situation in Manipur.