The Coordinating Committee on Manipur Integrity (COCOMI) and the Tangkhul Peoples’ Organisation (TPO) Imphal on Wednesday clarified that the unfortunate incident at Kwakeithel, where four Tangkhul girls were assaulted by a mob, was a case of misunderstanding and urged people not to consider it as a clash between communities.
Speaking to the media at Manipur Press Club on Wednesday, COCOMI media coordinator Khuraijam Athouba asserted that the incident was a case of mistaken identity and not an attack against the Naga community, especially the Tangkhuls.
“One person shot dead by Kuki militants on Wednesday was admitted at Asian Hospital, Kwakeithel; the victim passed away and the attack on the Tangkhul girls occurred when members of the bereaved family along with locals started protesting by blocking Kwakeithel-Tiddim Road in front of the hospital,” he said.
He narrated that the four Tangkhul girls were on their way to the airport when they were dragged out of the auto vehicle and mistaken for another community.
"Since then, we have held talks with various bodies of the Naga community in Manipur which include the United Naga Council, TPO among others and resolved the issue as misunderstanding and not a targeted attack," he added.
He also appealed to the media not to sensationalise the incident in communal flavour for TRPs and urged people to calm down the tension instead of building upon it.
“Members of the bereaved family acted out in moments of grief and it was not a targeted attack by the Meitei community on the Naga community,” he said.
He further extended apologies on behalf of the whole community and appealed to people not to add fuel to the already tense situation in Manipur.
Meanwhile, TPO Imphal president John Raleng reiterated that the whole unfortunate incident was a case of misunderstanding.
He said the TPO reached out to the victims and other Naga bodies to ensure the incident was not blown out of proportion.
“We have spoken to the victims who told us what happened and we conveyed the same to other apex Naga bodies,” he said.
He highlighted that the Tangkhuls have been living cordially with its neighbours in Imphal and that few localities reached to them to assure it was not a targeted attack.
“We hope such incidents do not take place in the future and stated that the bodies of both communities have resolved the issue peacefully,” he said.
TPO Activity committee member M Ngarangmi and COCOMI convenor Jeetendra Ningomba were also present during the meet.