The Scheduled Tribe Demand Committee of Manipur (STDCM) on Saturday refuted the claims made in national media that the communal riots in the state was the result of the Meitei community’s demand for inclusion of Meitei in the Scheduled Tribe (ST) list.
Stating that the conflict erupted first in three districts mainly dominated by the Kukis namely Churachandpur, Kangpokpi and Tengnoupal (Moreh), wherein they attacked the areas resided by the Meitei community, the STDCM maintained that the same was the root cause of the riot and certainly not because of Meitei’s demand for inclusion in the ST List.
Pointing out that the Tribal Solidarity Rally was even carried out in Naga-inhabited districts, it stated that there are zero cases of violence in such districts till date unlike the same in the Kuki-inhabited areas, it stated.
STDCM questioned whether the assault was actually an act of retaliation against the government initiatives against illegal poppy plantation drive in the hill areas of the state, eviction drives at reserve forest areas, demolition of churches constructed at government property and demand for implementation of NRC jointly carried out by Meitei and Nagas?
It also mentioned the incident in which an Open Gym, to be inaugurated by the chief minister in Churachandpur, was set ablaze a few days before the solidarity rally and imposing of bandh and strikes in the area.
The STDCM mooted that the resultant impact of the prevailing communal riots in the state will be removed only when an Enquiry Commission led by a Supreme Court Judge conduct a probe into the case and ascertain the truth behind the clash.
It asserted that mere activities to bring back peace or relief and rehabilitation without actually measuring the ground reality of the incident will not ease tension between the communities.