Guwahati: A people’s convention organized by the Coordinating Committee on Manipur Integrity (COCOMI), a conglomerate of Imphal Valley-based civil society organizations, has rejected Home Minister of India Amit Shah’s appeal to surrender weapons looted from the police, Times of India reported.
COCOMI also resolved not to allow combing operations launched by security forces on Wednesday in search of these weapons.
As per the report, the convention on “Chin-Kuki narco-terrorist aggression in Manipur,” organized by the committee in Imphal on Wednesday, declared “Manipuri National War” against “Chin-Kuki Narco-terrorists” and resolved to declare a public emergency bringing “complete cessation of any public entertainment activities”, except essential matters related to medical emergency, religion and funeral rites.
“We will not surrender arms until the narco-terrorists and related external aggressors are completely annihilated from the soil of our motherland and peace is restored. The current times are not for the arms to be taken away from us, but rather for us to be given more arms. The government must give the people arms to protect and safeguard Manipur. The people of Manipur, therefore, cannot accede to the government’s call for depositing arms. In addition, we will not allow any military operations in the valley. The government must first rein in and disarm the Kuki terrorists, who are waging a war in the foothills, since they are the aggressors,” the committee resolved.
The committee demanded the state government to “immediately institute and operationalise a dedicated force (Special Village Defence Force) so that the villagers can defend their villages as well as the state.
“The internet is banned since the state was rocked by ethnic violence. A vacation bench of justices Aniruddha Bose and Rajesh Bindal said the Manipur High Court is already hearing the matter and there is no need to duplicate the proceedings.
Nearly 100 people have lost their lives and 310 others injured in the ethnic violence in Manipur. A total of 37,450 people are currently sheltered in 272 relief camps.
Clashes first broke out in the northeastern state on May 3 after a ‘Tribal Solidarity March’ was organised in the hill districts to protest against the Meitei community’s demand for Scheduled Tribes (ST) status.
Meiteis account for about 53 per cent of Manipur’s population and live mostly in the Imphal Valley. Tribals Nagas and 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 in the state to restore peace.