Manipur: Kuki-Zos stage multiple protests demanding release of 3 community members

Manipur: Kuki-Zos stage multiple protests demanding release of 3 community members

Members of the Kuki-Zo community organised a massive sit-in protest and enforced a 12-hour shutdown from 6 am to 6 pm on July 10 across their dominated areas in the hills of Manipur. The protest, held under the aegis of Kuki Inpi Manipur, aimed to highlight alleged injustices and atrocities by security forces against the Kuki-Zo people.

In Kangpokpi, Kuki Inpi Sadar Hills (KISH) endorsed the resolution from the Kuki Inpi Manipur's emergency meeting and organised a significant protest at Vengpi in Keithelmanbi Military Colony. All vehicular movements, schools, and business establishments remained closed, except for essential and emergency services.

Protestors chanted slogans such as "Arrest Injustice Not the Kukis," "I am Indian Not Terrorist," "Arrest The Oppressors, Not the Victims," and "Grant us Union Territory." 

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KISH President Thangminlen Kipgen stated that the protest aimed to convey to the central government their discontent with the "selective targeting" of Kuki-Zo volunteers by central security forces.

Kipgen emphasised that the protest supports village volunteers and ensures no future targeted arrests by central agencies. He warned that protests would intensify if such actions continued.

The protests come a day after three Kuki-Zo village volunteers were arrested by central forces at L Hengjol village, where the forces allegedly attacked the residence of the village chief, destroying property and injuring several Kuki-Zo women.

However, Manipur Police, in a post on X, said that the arrested individuals were the "cadres of an underground outfit."

Similar protests occurred in other Kuki-Zo regions, including Leimakhong, Saikul, Motbung, Hengbung, Moreh, Churachandpur, New Keithelmanbi, and other areas.

Reacting to the attack, Kuki Chiefs' Association condemned it on Tonghen Haokip's residence, calling the damage irreparable and the assault an attempt to annihilate the chief and his family.

Expressing disappointment over the central security forces' alleged bias, the association appealed for unbiased operations. They warned that continued atrocities would not be tolerated.

Various Kuki organisations, including the Kuki Women Organisation for Human Rights and HTC Moreh, condemned the July 9 incident.

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The Kuki Inpi Manipur also submitted a memorandum to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, highlighting escalating ethnic tensions and persecution. They condemned the arrest of five Kuki-Zo individuals and demanded their release, coordination with law enforcement, and an end to discriminatory practices. The memorandum also called for a separate administrative setup to protect Kuki-Zo rights and ensure peace.

The Committee on Tribal Unity Sadar Hills warned of intensifying protests, including highway blockades, if their demands related to the arrest of three Kuki-Zo Village Volunteers and the incidents at L Hengjol village were not met promptly.