Manipur: Kuki-Zo community now at forefront of new ethnic tensions

IMPHAL | Updated: 19 December, 2023 7:49 pm IST

ZIMPHAL: In the ongoing strife spanning over seven months between the Kuki-Zo and Meitei communities, tensions between the two reached another extent where they clashed again at Churachandpur district in Manipur.

The state authorities have once again shut down mobile data access across the district to prevent escalation of tension. According to reports, the conflict had arisen due to the hoisting of the Zomi flag and the display of a Zogam (Zoland) graphic near a memorial stone at the Thingkangphai village by the Zo community. The village is primarily resided in by the Kuki community. 

Witnesses have reported that around 60 individuals had convened from both sides in a scuffle, which escalated as more members in. The intervention of the district police and the CRPF’s Quick Response Team managed to disperse the crowd and restore order.

 

Ethnic tensions had been brewing between the Kuki-Zo groups, especially over disagreements of renaming the burial site of the ones who were killed since the start of the clashes. 

To prevent further escalation, the district administration imposed prohibitory orders, restricting assembly and the carrying of weapons. 

Additional confrontations between the two communities occurred at Selmat Bridge, resulting in 22 individuals being injured. Among them, some sustained minor head injuries. 

The latest turn of events was triggered after 41 dead bodies were airlifted from Imphal to Churachandpur in compliance with a Supreme Court ruling passed on November 28. The ruling was directed by the apex court to the state government to facilitate a dignified burial or cremation for them.

 

The Superintendent of Police of Churachandpur had called for a meeting of community leaders to address the escalating tensions. On the other hand, law enforcement agencies and the Central Armed Police Forces (CAPF) have been deployed in critical areas to maintain control.

The Indigenous Tribal Leaders’ Forum (ITLF) has been spearheading the demand for a separate administration for the Kuki-Zo community. During the course of its presidential meeting, the body had resolved the tension caused by the nomenclature, naming it as ‘Kuki-Zo martyrs Cemetry’.

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