Tribal groups in Manipur turned up in large numbers today for the ‘Tribal Solidarity March’ organized by the All Tribal Students’ Union Manipur (ATSUM) throughout Manipur’s hill districts under the theme, ‘Come now let’s reason together’. The solidarity march was held against the demand for inclusion of the Meitei/Meetei community of the State in the Scheduled Tribe (ST) list.

 

 

 

During the protest, they raised slogans opposing the demand for ST status for the majority Meitei community. According to The New Indian Express, the Meiteis inhabit the Manipur valley, which constitutes about 10% of the total area of the state. The Meiteis, according to TNIE, are not allowed to settle in the hill areas as per the existing law.

 

In Naga-dominated Senapati town, the local bodies forced a total shutdown of markets in support of the rally. The protestors also claimed that they are facing difficulty due to the large-scale illegal immigration by Myanmarese and Bangladeshis.

 

According to Ukhrul Times, in connection to the solidarity march, the Kuki Inpi Manipur has given its full support. KIM, while condemning the direction of the High Court Manipur to recommend Meitei/Meetei community for ST inclusion, said the directive was insensitive to the interests of the backward and marginalized Scheduled Tribe communities of Manipur.

 

It may be recalled that the United Naga Council which is the apex Naga civil body in Manipur has also strongly condemned the “inane” order of the Manipur High Court of 27 March.

 

Meanwhile, it was reported that in a bit to counter the ‘Tribal Solidarity March’ in the hill districts of Manipur, “counter-protests” were held in different parts of the Meitei dominated valley areas of the State, by and large leading to the blockade of roads in the early morning of Wednesday in Imphal East district leading to interference in vehicular movements in Imphal-Ukhrul road; Imphal-Churachandpur road, Imphal-Kangpokpi road by some volunteers and supporters of Meitei/Meetei ST demand.

 

Internet shut down

 

Meanwhile, stating that there were reports of fighting amongst volunteers/youths of different communities in the districts of Bishnupur and Churachandpur during the rally and total shutdown, the state government has suspended mobile internet for the next five days in Manipur to tackle the worsening law and order situation.

 

Mokokchung Times

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