According to a report in Deccan Herald, Union Home Minister Amit Shah is set to embark on a campaign tour in Manipur on Monday, alongside visits to Tripura and Rajasthan, aiming to rally support for BJP candidates ahead of the Lok Sabha polls.

Shah’s focal point will be a rally in Imphal, where he will advocate for Thounaojam Basanta Kumar Singh, the incumbent education minister of Manipur and BJP’s nominee for the Inner Manipur constituency. The seat, presently held by BJP’s Rajkumar Ranjan Singh, encompasses 32 Assembly constituencies spanning the conflict-ridden Imphal valley.

However, Shah’s visit coincides with escalated tensions in Manipur’s Churachandpur and Kangpokpi districts following recent violence that claimed the lives of two individuals from the Kuki-Zo community. The eruption of violence, after a month-long hiatus, has spurred the Kuki-Zo community into street protests in both Kangpokpi and Churachandpur.

Although political parties in the State have found covert ways to campaign in light of the conflict, voters in both constituencies expressed no enthusiasm towards the upcoming Lok Sabha elections on 19 and 26 April.

Meanwhile, according to The Hindu report, a group of Kuki-Zo women, including journalists, social workers, former MP of Outer Manipur Kim Gangte and leaders of Kuki-Zomi-Hmar women’s forums in Delhi, have written to the Chief Election Commissioner of India Rajiv Kumar, informing him of their decision, as representatives of the “Global Kuki-Zomi-Hmar Women community”, to boycott the upcoming Lok Sabha elections.

In Churachandpur’s Motbung area, Kuki-Zo civil society organizations and apex tribAL bodies held a march, where thousands of people showed up with posters and banners, one of which read: “Protest against the inhuman killing of two village volunteers.”

The Committee on Tribal Unity, meanwhile, issued a statement calling for a day-long shutdown across Kangpokpi district and the Kuki Students’ Organisation (KSO) in Churachandpur has called for a candle-light vigil near the “Wall of Remembrance” at the playground opposite the DC office in the district.

Adding to the unrest, protests erupted in Delhi’s Jantar Mantar, organized by the KSO’s Delhi NCR unit and the Kuki-Zo Women’s Forum, Delhi. Despite claims by DCP (New Delhi) Devesh Kumar that only about 10-15 protesters had gathered without permission, the protest highlighted grievances against the Manipur government’s handling of the situation, with demands for peace and accountability echoing through the capital’s streets.

Shah’s visit to Manipur comes at a critical juncture, amidst escalating tensions and widespread calls for resolution from aggrieved communities.

MTNews Desk

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