The Centre Research and Advocacy, Manipur has called for advancement of indigenous people’s rights on the occasion of the International Indigenous People’s Day on Wednesday.
The CRA is concerned with the ongoing violences in Manipur and the failure of the government of India to control the violence and protect the lives and land of the indigenous people of Manipur, Sanaton L, president of CRA, Manipur said in a release.
The continued violence perpetrated by the two major communities in conflict and by the Indian security forces is despite the extensive militarisation in Manipur under emergency legislation like the Armed Forces Special Powers Act, 1958 and despite additional deployment of more than 50,000 security forces, the CRA said.
Women, farmers, children and innocent civilians belonging to both Meiteis and Kukis communities are victims of violence. Farmers continue to be attacked while cultivating their land. The physical and psychological impact of the conflict will be detrimental for the growth and sustainable development, the CRA said.
The CRA is concerned that the pursuance of India's Act East Policy fostered land alienation, displacement, environment destruction on indigenous people’s land in Manipur, viz. Dam, oil exploration, mining, road, railways, etc. The pursue of projects, viz, the Kaladan Multimodal Transit Project, the trilateral highway project, Oil and gas exploration, Sittwe to Gaya gas pipeline through Chin State, Rakhine State of Myanmar and Mizoram under Act East Policy, aggravated the ethnic tensions, due to politics of favouritism and divide and rule among tribes to serve India's geopolitical interest. Concerns persist that India is favouring Kuki Chin communities and indulging in partisan and divisive politics to protect its infrastructure and investment in Chin State in Myanmar and to counter China's Belt and Road Initiatives, the CRA said.
The Centre for Research and Advocacy, Manipur would like to urge the Government of India and Government of Manipur to take urgent steps to end violence in Manipur and to protect indigenous peoples from all forms of violence and discrimination. The Government of India should institute prompt and impartial investigation into all cases of violence recorded and prosecute all those involved in perpetuating the violence against indigenous peoples in Manipur, including its security forces Repeal emergency legislations like the Armed Forces Special Powers Act, 1958 The Government should stop fermenting and condoning violence in the pretext of serving its geopolitical interest. India's Act East Policy should not foster conflict among indigenous peoples by targeting their land and resources. Government should stop divide and rule policy and promote peace and reconciliation among indigenous peoples, the CRA said.
The celebration of indigenous peoples' day is to celebrate their way of life, shared cultural heritages and harmonious relationship among indigenous people’s Indigenous people land, forest, river and water bodies are an inalienable part of their livelihood and culture. The Government of India and Manipur should uphold indigenous peoples' rights in Manipur, guided by spirits of the UN Declaration on Indigenous peoples, the CRA said.