Imphal, Feb 11:
Torbung area under Bishnupur district faced the first brunt of the ongoing violent conflict in the state when heavily armed Kuki militants including those under a tripartite Suspension of Operation agreement (SoO) started torching houses and killing innocent Meiteis following a ‘Tribal Solidarity March’ rally organised by the All Tribal Students’ Union Manipur (ATSUM) on May 3 of 2023.
Thousands of Meitei/Meetei villagers of the area are still reeling under the impact of the ongoing conflict which is in its tenth month with no signs of any let up in violent attacks and aggressions by Kuki militants and reinforced with illegal migrants from across the Myanmar border armed with heavy and sophisticated weapons and hundreds of houses lay charred and destroyed with very little to salvage and the very real threat of the armed Kukis making another killing raid on the village or what is left of it still looming large on the thousands of displaced villagers.
A special survey conducted by Imphal Times yesterday around the area revealed a vast anomaly in the measures announced by the state government and the realities being faced by the villagers. According to the villagers out of more than one hundred and fifty houses burnt and destroyed by armed Kuki militants, none of them have received any sort of assistance from the state government though they have also learnt of the various relief measures announced so far. They also expressed their desire to return to their homestead and try to start life as it were earlier despite the ever-present danger of the heavily armed Kuki militants entrenched in bunkers very near the villages invading the villages anytime again.
With dwindling means of livelihood and absence of opportunities for earning as well as failure of the state government to provide for the villagers, a large number of able-bodied have already left in order to eke out a living as wage earners and those remaining to protect the village expressed their desire for the state administration to provide them assistance a the earliest so they can start some means of earning and taking the tentative step of returning to their former way of live for these predominantly farming villages.