Never Dreamt A Rally Would Lead To Violent Attacks In Manipur: Biren Singh

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Never Dreamt A Rally Would Lead To Violent Attacks In Manipur: Biren Singh


Manipur Chief Minister N Biren Singh on Sunday said that no one had thought that a rally against the Meitei community’s demand for Scheduled Tribe (ST) status would lead to violent attacks.

Mr Singh’s comment comes months after an ethnic strife broke out in the Northeastern state in May last year, which claimed more than 200 lives. Private and government properties were also destroyed.

A rally denouncing the Meitei community’s demand was organised by the All Tribal Students Union of Manipur (ATSUM) on May 3, 2023, following which violence began.

Addressing a government programme at Lamlai in Imphal East district, he said, “When ATSUM decided to hold a rally against the demand for ST status by Meiteis, there were no reports of any ulterior design by a section of the people.” All are entitled to express their opinions through a rally, the chief minister said.

“However, nobody ever thought the rally would lead to violence,” he said.

Mr Singh said the rally began around 9.30 pm and within an hour, a forest office was torched at Churachandpur at 10.30. A driver was also assaulted followed by attacks on the homes of others, he said.

“However, no such violence was reported in Naga-inhabited areas of Tamenglong, Ukhrul and Senapati. We need to understand who wants to break Manipur,” the chief minister said.

Security personnel have been deployed at almost all vulnerable areas as the government wants to protect people, he said adding that the whole country stands by Manipur.

“All are people of the state. Entry of illegal immigrants and setting up new villages by them are all we want. We are not against the original villages and people. Poppy cultivation should also stop. We need not forget the support of the Centre,” he said.

At least 219 people have been killed in ethnic strife in the state since May last year. The violence erupted on May 3 after a ‘Tribal Solidarity March’ was organised in the hill districts to protest against the Meitei community’s demand for Scheduled Tribe (ST) status.

Meiteis account for about 53 per cent of Manipur’s population and live mostly in the Imphal Valley, while tribals, which include Nagas and Kukis, constitute 40 per cent and reside mainly in the hill districts.

(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)

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