Home » Thawai Mirel raises concerns over militarization and Panchayat elections during Jiribam visit

Thawai Mirel raises concerns over militarization and Panchayat elections during Jiribam visit

by Konthoujam Gita
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Thawai Mirel raises concerns over militarization and Panchayat elections during Jiribam visit

IT News
Imphal, June 17:

The leadership of Thawai Mirel, led by Convenor Thongam Dara Singh and Co-convenor Paonam Sanahanbi, recently visited Jiribam to assess conditions in relief camps and discuss pressing issues of heavy militarization, upcoming Panchayat elections, and security needs. Their visit comes amid heightened tensions and significant community displacement.
Paonam Sanahanbi voiced strong concerns about the substantial presence of armed forces in the region. It has been a year since their arrival, initially hoped to bring peace and protection. However, with Home Minister Amit Shah’s directive to station Indian armed forces in 55 locations, Sanahanbi now views the situation as heavy militarization aimed at repressing the community. “We need to wake up. We all need to come out and take decisive action. This is a strategy to surround us,” she urged, emphasizing the need for community mobilization.
Sanahanbi highlighted the plight of village volunteers, stressing the importance of protecting them from arrest. “We are surrounded; everywhere around us is burning,” she lamented, pointing to the widespread unrest and destruction. The lack of clear leadership and accountability has further exacerbated the situation. “We have no leaders. We have no idea who is accountable for this,” Sanahanbi noted, underscoring the community’s resolve to face the challenges head-on.
The Thawai Mirel leadership team evaluated conditions in several relief camps in Jiribam, noting the extensive displacement of individuals. Relief Camp Unit I accommodates 167 individuals from 22 households from Chingkoipung Khul (New) and Babukhan Khunou (Old) at the Multipurpose Sports Complex in Bidyanagar. Relief Camp Unit II hosts 52 individuals from 14 households from Chingkoipung Khul (New) and Babukhan Khunou (Old) at the same sports complex, operational since June 14, 2024. Relief Camp Unit III provides shelter to 239 individuals from 94 households from Lamtal Khunou, Modhupur, Bhutankhal, and Leishabithol Nungkhal at the Multipurpose Sports Complex, Bidyanagar, since June 9, 2024. This unit includes those from houses affected by burning and bombing incidents. Additionally, the Sorok Atingbi High School Relief Camp houses 134 individuals from 42 households from Leingangpokpi, Boroikhal, Gulathol Thong Wangma, Gulathol, and Sorok Atingbi Khunou. Many displaced persons have also resettled in Assam, primarily engaging in agriculture.
The Cabinet’s decision to hold Panchayat elections in September has sparked concerns among the Thawai Mirel leadership. The elections will affect 161 Gram Panchayats across the region, including six in Jiribam district: Hilghat GP, Dibong GP, Sonapur GP, Latingkhal GP, Borobekra GP, and Jakuradhor GP. Many people from these Gram Panchayats are currently living in relief camps. Given this displacement, Thawai Mirel leaders argue that holding elections at this juncture is insensitive. They stress that normalcy and previous living conditions should be restored before elections proceed. PRI members have echoed this sentiment, emphasizing the need for stability.
National Highway 37 remains in disrepair, with numerous vehicles trapped and stranded. The blockade by Kuki women in the Leingangpokpi area has exacerbated the situation, preventing essential supplies like potatoes and petroleum products from reaching Imphal. Central forces have not taken action, leading to trucks returning to Jiribam without delivering their goods.

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