In a letter addressed to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Minister of State for External Affairs and Education, Dr. Rajkumar Ranjan Singh, expressed deep concern over the recent wave of ethnic violence in Manipur, which has resulted in the loss of 71 lives and left hundreds injured.
The letter, highlighting the gravity of the situation, outlined the extent of the damage caused by the clashes between the Meitei and Kuki communities. Out of Manipur's 16 districts, 11 have been affected, with 6 districts bearing the brunt of the violence. More than 25,000 people have been displaced, 1700 houses have been burnt, and over 200 vehicles have been destroyed. The chaos and unrest that ensued from May 3rd onwards shattered trust between the two communities.
Expressing dismay and frustration, Kuki leaders, including their MLAs, have started demanding a separate political administration for their people. It is believed that they are facing immense pressure from various quarters, including militant groups. However, Dr. Rajkumar Ranjan Singh warned against such a proposition, emphasizing that encouraging further division along ethnic lines would be detrimental to the state, which already comprises 35 distinct ethnic groups. He stressed the importance of peaceful co-existence and urged authorities to curb and control the conflicts with a firm hand.
The Minister of State also addressed a statement made by a young BJP MLA, who referred to the violence as "ethnic cleansing." Dr. Rajkumar Ranjan Singh clarified that such characterizations were unfounded and dangerous. He urged public figures to exercise restraint when discussing sensitive matters, as the violence that erupted in Churachandpur District was triggered by a small incident and should not be misconstrued as an organized campaign of ethnic cleansing.
Highlighting the plight of the common people caught in the crossfire, Dr. Rajkumar Ranjan Singh appealed for immediate action to prevent any further exploitation of the situation. He emphasized that the focus should not be on the number of casualties or damaged properties but on addressing the humanitarian crisis at hand. He called for a humane approach that transcends ethnic biases.
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