Manipur and the burning North East

The north-eastern Indian state of Manipur shares borders with Myanmar to the east and south. The Imphal Valley is mostly inhabited by the Hindu Meitei people and the hill tribes, known as Kukis in the southern section and Nagas in the northern portion belong to Christian faith.
Sushil Kumar Sharma, in his research paper titled Ethnic Conflict and Harmonisation: The Manipur Study’, published by the Vivekananda Foundation in 2016, believes that there are 200 different tribes in Northeast India and they speak vastly different languages. Although there are historical and political motivations for instability in the region, its multi-ethnicity plays an important role in the region’s disputes.
Sushil also pointed out that the resurgence of Meitei nationalism in Manipur in the post-independence era is due to several deep-rooted factors, including the perception that India is forcing the princely states to merge, the threat posed by the Naga movement, mismanagement, neglect by the central government and an identity crisis. The Kuki National Army (KNA), United National Liberation Front (UNLF), the People’s Liberation Army (PLA), the People’s Revolutionary Party of Kanleipak (PREPAK) and the Communist Party of Kanglipak (KCP) are popular breakaway movements.
In October 2019, Al Jazeera had reported that dissident political leaders from Manipur had unilaterally declared independence from India and forming a government-in-exile in Britain. Narengbam Samarjit, External Affairs Minister in the self-declared Manipur State Council, had stated that the exiled government would push for recognition at the United Nations.
The current strategic crisis in Indian North East, especially Manipur stems from the Meitei people’s long-standing quest for Scheduled Tribe designation under the Indian Constitution, which would grant them rights similar to those enjoyed other tribal communities. An ethnic clash erupted on May 3, 2023, in Manipur between the RSS-backed Meitei people and the tribal community from the surrounding hills, including the Christian Kuki and Zo peoples. As of July 21, at least 200 people have been killed in the violence, and more than 1000 others left wounded. Almost 250 Churches have been burnt to ashes by RSS backed Hindus from Meitei community and there are also reports of Nuns being raped by mobs, 55000 Kukis had to leave their homes and have been shifted to makeshift camps. There are also reports of Kukis from neighboring Myanmar supporting their brothers and sisters in Manipur
Indian media has tried to play down the violence in Manipur, as it has the germs to spread to rest of seven sisters; while Modi is being hosted by the west and was displaying his skills on International Yoga day, the farce in Manipur continues unabated.
The chaos in Manipur was further ignited when a video of two Kuki women emerged on social media; the unfortunate women were paraded naked by RSS thugs and were raped by gangs in the bush. After 40 days of violence, Modi came out publically to acknowledge that India has been shamed. Modi did not mention that the rapists belonged to the RSS backed Meiti Hindu community; instead he generalised the violence and rape by stating that it had shamed India.
The husband of one of the victims is a retired Subedar of Assam Regiment; he served in Indian army for three decades. During an interview with Barkha Dutt on 22 July, the Subedar was in tears and stated that he could not have dreamed what has happened to Christian community in Manipur and his wife.
Lt. General Chauhan Shoki tweeted “Shameful. We are ashamed that one who protected our nation in various difficult operations could not be protected by the nation. The nation has failed him”.
Another important factor is the idea of Zoroland being discussed on social media through cartographic war, this imaginary state comprises all the tribal affiliated with Kukis in Myanmar Kachin and Chin states, Indian states of Mizoram, Manipur, Tripura, Bangladeshi area of Chittagong Hill tracts. If things go out of control, the tribal conflict could spill over to destabilise Myanmar and Bangladesh.
The RSS controlled mainstream and social media is spreading further chaos by twisting the facts, in one of the tweets it stated, “the indigenous #KukiMilitants and the illegal immigrant ChinKukiMilitants plays the Christian card in Western countries. While the real issue is the hidden agenda is carved out from the parts of NE India, Myanmar & Bangladesh. When the Logic is simple, why #GOI is taking this much time to tackle it”.
Palki Sharma was honking on the First Post that “The European parliament had adopted a motion on the violence in Manipur, moments after PM Modi landed in Paris for a two-day visit. What explains this dual track of red carpet and abuse?” This is quite hilarious as same Palki Sharma makes fun of any trouble in Pakistan by portraying it as a failed state. Now when the Karma is in motion and RSS cabal in India has been exposed in the international arena, Godi media is crying hoarse.
European parliament resolution was very strong and it exposed Indian hollowness and claims about the largest democracy in the world. The speakers in EU Parliament stated that India was becoming highly intolerant to human rights, the minorities were being suppressed and the Christian community was in danger of extinction.
The apparent ethnic and interfaith clash has more than what meets the eye. RSS now wants to expand its political influence in the Seven Sisters; the tribal culture and apathy of the common people to Indian The best way is to politically divide the region on ethnic and interfaith basis. As done in the ‘cow belt’ against the Muslim community, the RSS thinks that they can create a Hindu vote bank by creating a wedge between Christian and Hindu tribes.
The declaration of Hindutva Republic in 2024 is the ultimate objective of RSS; with the divided vote, BJP is poised to get 75% seats in coming Lok Sabha. The international community needs to stop pampering Modi and the RSS and make sure that Indian minorities do not become extinct in coming decades.

Adeela Naureen and Waqar K Kauravi

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