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Over 550 Civil Society Groups Unite to Condemn Ongoing Violence in Manipur

Concerned individuals demand immediate ceasefire and accountability from government, call for court-monitored tribunal to establish facts, promote justice, and foster healing between the communities.
Over 550 Civil Society Groups Unite to Condemn Ongoing Violence in Manipur

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New Delhi: In a powerful show of solidarity, more than 550 civil society groups and concerned individuals from all corners of the nation have joined forces to denounce the escalating violence in Manipur. The groups issued a joint statement today, calling for an immediate end to the divisive politics perpetuated by the state and security forces while urging all parties involved to declare an immediate ceasefire.

The statement, born out of deep concern for the ethnic violence that has plagued Manipur since early May 2023, emphasises the need for the Prime Minister to break his silence on the ongoing civil war in the hills and valley areas of the state. The signatories demand an immediate halt to the violence, which has caused significant disruption, displacement, and loss of life. More than 50,000 people are in over 300 refugee camps, while countless others have been forced to flee their homes.

The joint statement unequivocally holds the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and its governments, both at the central and state level, responsible for the prevailing situation. It accuses the BJP of playing divisive politics, deepening historical tensions between the Meitei community and the tribal Kuki and Zo communities without making meaningful efforts to facilitate dialogue and resolution.

Concerns are raised over the violence perpetrated by armed Meitei majoritarian groups like Arambai Tenggol and Meitei Leepun against the Kukis. Reports of genocidal hate speech, supremacist displays of impunity, and the urgent need to verify claims of mobs chanting violent slogans, including threats of rape and torture against women, have surfaced.

The statement demands several key actions from the government, including the Prime Minister's accountability for the current situation in Manipur. It calls for a court-monitored tribunal to establish facts, promote justice, and foster healing between the communities. Additionally, the signatories insist on the establishment of a fast-track court to address cases of sexual violence perpetrated by both state and non-state actors, as recommended by the Verma Commission.

Furthermore, the statement emphasises the importance of providing relief to those forced to flee their homes and ensuring their safe return, including rebuilding their homes and livelihoods. To oversee this process of return, rehabilitation, and compensation, the signatories propose the formation of a panel comprising retired judges familiar with the region, potentially appointed by the High Court or Supreme Court.

Prominent figures from various sectors have endorsed the statement, including parliamentarian Manoj Kumar Jha, retired bureaucrats Meena Gupta, P Gangte, and Meeran Borwankar, as well as activists Kavita Srivastava, Meera Sanghamitra, Brinda Adige, and Cedric Prakash, among many others. Notable academics, journalists, filmmakers, writers, and lawyers have supported the cause.

As Manipur grapples with the devastating consequences of ongoing violence, these united voices of civil society groups and individuals echo the urgent need for immediate action, accountability, and a commitment to healing the deep divisions that plague the state.

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