Amid the unrest in Manipur, the Coordinating Committee on Manipur Integrity (COCOMl) on Tuesday organised protests at various places and appealed to the Central government against extending the Suspension of Operations (SoO) agreement signed with various Kuki militant groups any further. The validity of the SoO agreement ends on Wednesday, May 17.
Speaking to the media at the office of SUK in Imphal, coordinator of COCOMI, Jeetendra Ningomba said normalcy is slowly returning in almost all regions of the valley.
However, in the peripheral areas there is still unrest due to continued attack in some villages by suspected militant groups under SoO. He added, there are also reports of some UG groups not covered by SoO involving in such attacks.
Considering the facts, the coordinator appealed to the government to refrain from extending the SoO agreement and to investigate the involvement of other UG groups in the attack and initiate action as per law.
He said, meanwhile some miscreants have blocked the lifeline of Manipur (NH-2) while the people of the state are at this critical juncture. In this regard, he urged the government to ensure smooth passage of truck carrying essential commodities by deploying sufficient security.
Jeetendra further appealed to all the community and CSO leaders to initiate steps for restoration of normalcy in a peaceful manner.
Responding to COCOMI’s call to launch peaceful protests to end the tension in Manipur, countless people voluntarily came out to stage-ins at various locations across Imphal on Tuesday.
Furious over the unprovoked attack and destruction inflicted by SoO Kuki militants in numerous Meitei villages located on the fringes of Imphal valley, several local clubs and bodies organised the protests at over 20 locations demanding both central and state government to withdraw the SoO with Kuki militants and restore peace in Manipur swiftly.
Protect indigenous people against atrocities, protect territorial integrity of Manipur, implement NRC in Manipur and withdraw SoO from Kuki militant groups among others were some of the placards held by protesters during the sit-in.
Kongba Irong Bashikhong, Kyamgei Heibong Makhong, Heibong Makhong Youth club, Kongpal Kongkham Leikai, Heibongpokpi Lamsang, Elang Leikai Lairembi Lampak, Malom Bazar, Kha Jiri Nambol, Nungoi Mayai leikai, Phayeng, Haobam Marak Keisham leikai, Keishamhong, Thoubal, Charangpat, Yaiskul Moirangkhom, Ananda Singh Higher secondary school, Nambram Chuthek Multipurpose hall, Langdum and Keirao are among few locations where the sit-ins were staged.
It may be mentioned that COCOMI had announced to launch series of democratic agitations demanding authorities concerned to implement proper protocols and measures to bring an end to the present situation in Manipur. No untoward incidents were reported during the protests.
Speaking to media, a protestor at Langdum stated that the betrayal of the 10 Kuki MLAs revealed their allegiance to the demands raised by SoO Kuki militants.
“They were elected to represent the people of Manipur and not only Kukis but their recent demand has revealed that they are hand in glove with Kuki militants and are not concerned about restoring peace in Manipur,” he said.
As such he continued that the 10 Kuki MLAs should be declared terrorist as their demand aligned with the militants.
He further appealed to both central and state government to revoke the SoO with the Kuki militants and asserted that both governments should dispense every resource possible to keep them restrained at their respective designated camps.
The protestor highlighted the whole incident was a well-orchestrated plan by vested Kuki individuals to assert their demand for separate Kuki administration. Not only the Meiteis but also other tribal communities have been betrayed in the whole debacle, he added.
“At first it was made to appear as if they were against the Meitei ST demand but their demands were far more sinical and cunning then we could have ever imagined,” he said.
He expressed suspicion drug kingpins in the state instigated the militants to get involved so that the destruction of poppy plantation and eviction of villages from reserved areas would be halted.
As such he demanded authorities concerned to fix schedule for implementation of NRC in Manipur.
Distinction between indigenes and non-locals will be the primary measure to prevent such atrocities in the future, he added.
He further demanded authorities concerned to initiate measures to restore peace and normalcy among all communities swiftly.