After the Chief Minister of Manipur N. Biren Singh started using the terms illegal immigrant and poppy cultivator to stereotype the Zo ethnic (Kuki-Zomi) communities, the Coordinating Committee on Manipur Integrity (COCOMI), a conglomerate of Meitei civil society organizations coined the term narco-terrorist in its declaration at its People’s Convention on Chin-Kuki Narco-Terrorist Aggression in Manipur – India, dated June 7, 2023 and tagged the Chin-Kuki (Zo ethnic) communities as Narco-Terrorists and declared a National War against us.
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Taking their cues from N. Biren Singh and COCOMI, many Meitei CSOs as the likes of Meira Paibi, World Meitei Council, etc. continued to beef-up their roles in demeaning the Zo ethnic tribes by calling them foreigners, illegal immigrant, infiltrators, poppy cultivator and narco-terrorists across various platforms.
It is a fact that various COs of the Zo ethnic tribes – Zomi Youth Association and entities like the Zomi Revolutionary Organisation, Kuki National Organisation, Har People Convention (Democratic) to name a few – and different Churches had issued Public Notices and made Public Declarations asking their people to fight against poppy cultivation and refrain from illegal drug business since the past many years.
It is a fact and of common knowledge that the various Zo ethnic tribes are recognized Scheduled Tribes under the Indian Constitution settling in different districts of Manipur for many decades and even centuries in the past; as such, coining us foreigners, illegal immigrants and infiltrators is most unwarranted and highly libellous in nature.
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Further, such irresponsible, malicious and communal insults by calling the Zo ethnic communities as foreigners, illegal immigrants, infiltrators, poppy cultivators and narco-terrorists hurt the common sentiments of the Zo ethnic communities and tarnished their reputation. It has also resulted in the most important factor for the continuing act of ethnic cleansing committed upon the Zo ethnic tribes by the majority Meiteis resulting in the loss of many precious lives and properties.
It is also worth mentioning that a once-decorated police officer, Smt. Thounaojam Brinda stated in a recent interview with NewsLaundry on August 1, 2023 which was reiterated in another interview with another media house, The Wire on August 7, 2023 that, based on evidence, it is the people in power in Manipur and their partners who are behind the illegal narcotics business.
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While it is manifested that the Zo ethnic tribes and the dedicated police officer like Smt. Thounaojam Brinda are the ones who actually fought the War on Drugs, it is people like the Chief Minister of Manipur Shri N. Biren Singh who is the true patron in the illicit drug business.
The Zomi Chiefs’ Association hereby calls after the Chief Minister of Manipur Shri. N. Biren Singh and the Coordinator, COCOMI to tender a PUBLIC APOLOGY to the Zo ethnic communities for their defamatory activities against them by August 31, 2023 failing which damage suits will be instituted against them without further reference. This PR may be treated as Compliance of Notice to the concerned authority as required under Section 80 of the Code of Civil Procedure Code.
(Zomi Chiefs’ Association, New Lamka, published on August 15, 2023)