In Kuki-Zo dominated areas, ITLF and CoTU calls for full shutdown

In Kuki-Zo dominated areas, ITLF and CoTU calls for full shutdown

Imphal: The Committee on Tribal Unity, or the CoTU, Sadar Hills and the Indigenous Tribal Leaders’ Forum, or the ITLF, the two top Kuki-Zo tribal bodies in Manipur jointly called for a 24-hour total shutdown in all Kuki-Zo dominated areas in Manipur starting tonight from zero hour 3rd January till zero hour 4th January 2024.

The total shutdown was jointly called by the two top Kuk-Zo tribal bodies to protest against the alleged atrocities of the Meitei state forces and also to demand the removal of the Meitei state forces from all Kuki-Zo districts in Manipur.

The CoTU Sadar Hills and the ITLF stated that the incursion of communal Meitei state forces into Moreh and the surrounding tribal areas during an ethnic conflict involving the two communities is clearly an attempt by the Chief Minister to drive out tribals from their homes using state machinery, and will never be tolerated by the Kuki-Zo people.

It stated that the brutality of the Meitei commandos and their communal intent is well documented, and Kuki-Zo volunteers are faced with no option but to defend themselves.

It also stated that the people of Moreh have pleaded with the central government since May to replace Meitei state forces with neutral central security forces, and Home Minister Amit Shah said on May 31 that all Meitei forces would be removed within three days.

It also recalled that the Home Minister in his meeting with ITLF leaders had assured that he would ensure central forces work in conjunction with state forces, however, this alleged arrangement has not deterred Meitei commandos from committing atrocities against Kuki-Zo tribals, and their presence has led to an escalation of violence instead of bringing peace.

While urging the central government to remove all Meitei state forces, especially commandos, from Moreh and the surrounding tribal-majority settlements, the two top Kuki-Zo tribal bodies stated that there can be no peace as long as they [the Meitei state forces] are deployed in the Kuki-Zo areas.

It also cautioned that if Meitei forces are allowed to continue operating and harassing the Kuki-Zo tribals, the government will be held responsible for any future security issues.

Meanwhile, Kuki Inpi Sadar Hills, or the KISH, vehemently condemned the persistent attacks on Kuki-Zo civilians by the alleged combined forces of Arambai Tenggol, Meitei Leepun, and Manipur Police Commando.

It stated that these egregious actions have created a grave humanitarian crisis and called for the immediate withdrawal of state forces from Moreh to safeguard the lives and well-being of innocent civilians and to cease the continuous assaults on the Kuki-Zo community.

KISH further stated that such actions not only threaten lives but also escalate tensions, jeopardizing the region’s stability while adding that the consequences are dire, impacting the well-being, safety, and harmony of the Kuki-Zo communities.

While calling upon the Manipur Chief Minister to refrain from disseminating false information and to uphold a stance that promotes unity among all communities, the Kuki Inpi Sadar Hills stated that fostering transparency and understanding is vital for the collective well-being of the region.

Expressing concern over the perceived ineffectiveness and misinformation, Kuki Inpi emphasized that the Manipur Chief Minister’s actions may exacerbate the crisis while adding that urgent measures are needed to address the situation truthfully and proactively to ensure the well-being and stability of all communities.

While asserting its stance against being silent observers, KISH stated that if the combined forces of the Meitei government persist in their actions, Kuki Inpi is prepared to take necessary steps to ensure the safety and rights of the Ku- ki-Zo community.

Meanwhile, the Village Volunteers of the Tengnoupal District vowed to defend the border town Moreh from the alleged combined forces of Meitei militants, Meitei police commandos, and the Arambai Tenggol till the last drop of their blood.

It stated that deploying and stationing the combined forces of Meitei Militants, Meitei police commandos, and Arambai Tenggol in the Kuki-Zo area Moreh in Tengnoupal district is unacceptable.

It also stated that masquerading Meitei militants and Arambai Tenggol and deploying them in the name of police commandos to annihilate the Kuki-Zo people is well known to all.

It recalled that the Kuki-Zo people especially in the Tengnoupal district, through the CSOs, have repeatedly put up the matter to central security forces appealing to all the concerned to withdraw the combined forces of Meitei militants and Meitei police commandos from Tengnoupal district.

However, our repeated appeal remains unheard, and instead, the combined forces of the Meitei militant and Meitei police commandos unleashed terror in Moreh and its surroundings. They torched civilian houses in Lhangnom Veng, Moreh, detained and thrashed innocent civilians including a private school teacher. They even planted bombs in T Yangnom and T Lhangnomphai village areas to kill and injure Kuki-Zo civilians, it added.

It also stated that as they continue to terrorize the Kuki-Zo people in Moreh and Tengnoupal District, the Village Volunteers are compelled to retaliate against them.

It further stated that the Tengnoupal district Village Volunteers will fight back against these state-sponsored terrorists till our last drop of blood and we will not step down until the concerned authority removed Meitei militants and Meitei police commandos from Moreh town.

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