Churachandpur: The Indigenous Tribal Leaders’ Forum has expressed deep concern over the escalating crisis in Manipur’s ethnic conflict and has accused the Home Ministry of failing to address their demands and protect tribal communities.
The ITLF initially agreed to postpone the burial of martyrs killed in the conflict, as requested by the Home Ministry, in hopes of resolving the issues. However, four months later, none of their demands have been met, and their dead remain in morgues.
A recent meeting between ITLF representatives and Home Minister Amit Shah in Delhi exposed significant discontent. The ITLF demanded the removal of Meitei state forces from all hill districts, but the Home Minister only promised that state forces would act “in conjunction” with central forces. Recent events indicate that this promise has not been upheld, leading to increased tensions.
Notably, while the killing of a tribal police officer by a Meitei sniper went unanswered by the government, the death of a Meitei police officer is being used to justify attacks on Kuki-Zo civilians in Moreh town and other villages in Tengnoupal district. Reports suggest that Meitei commandos are assaulting civilians, burning down houses, and looting homes, raising questions about the role of central forces in these incidents, ITLF added.
The ITLF has questioned why Meitei forces are allowed to operate among tribal communities and called for the deployment of neutral central forces to protect the tribal population. Meanwhile, militant Meitei groups like Arambai Tenggol are openly brandishing sophisticated weapons looted from state armories and inciting violence against Kuki-Zo tribals without any apparent action from security forces or investigating agencies like the CBI and NIA.
The ITLF emphasized their diminishing trust in the central government and urged the government to prioritize humanitarian concerns over electoral politics.
ITLF has called for the protection of the rights and lives of tribal communities, highlighting the urgent need for a separate administration to ensure the safety of those facing the threat of elimination in this ongoing conflict.