New Delhi, June 4: Members of Manipuri civil society and students’ organisations on Sunday held a ‘peace rally’ at Jantar Mantar here and demanded that the government check the influx of “illegal migrants” into the state from Myanmar.
The rally, organised by the Manipur Coordinating Committee, Delhi, a group of civil society and students’ organisations, was attended by a large number of people from the state living in the national capital.
Chan Meitei, a member of the committee, said the rally was held for peace in Manipur and to lodge a protest against the “divisive forces and external aggression” faced by people in the state.
The participants demanded that the government stop “illegal migrants” from Myanmar entering Manipur.
“The illegal migrants from Myanmar are responsible for the unrest and violence faced by Manipur. They indulge in poppy cultivation that has also added to deforestation on the hills,” said Joy, a medical student from Thoibal in Manipur.
The committee members said the government should also check the violence by Kuki “militants” who migrated from Myanmar.
“All the stakeholders of Manipur are equally responsible to bring peace and development in the state. Manipuri Kukis are our relatives, brothers and sisters and we are not against them,” said Prem Meetie, who also took part in the rally.
At least 98 people were killed and 310 injured in the ethnic violence that broke out in Manipur a month ago, the state government said earlier this week. A total of 37,450 people are currently sheltered in 272 relief camps.
Clashes first broke out on May 3 after a ‘Tribal Solidarity March’ was organised in the hill districts to protest against the Meitei community’s demand for Scheduled Tribe status.
Meiteis account for about 53 per cent of Manipur’s population and live mostly in the Imphal Valley. The tribal Nagas and the Kukis constitute another 40 per cent of the population and reside in the hill districts.
Around 10,000 Army and Assam Rifles personnel have been deployed to restore peace in the state. (PTI)