Advocate Keisham Kishan Singh submitted a memorandum to Prime Minister, President, chief minister, Governor of Manipur and others demanding the Meitei/Manipuri village volunteers and organisation to give immunity from any charges or arrest for their voluntary service in defending/protecting the life and properties of the citizens and the state as applicable under any provision of law.
Highlighting the present unrest of Manipur from the early stage Keisham Kishan, a citizen of India presently residing in Manipur and currently practicing as an advocate in High Court or Manipur mentioned in his memorandum traced the background and detailed chronology of how the crisis erupted in Manipur.
It questioned the conduct of the deputy commissioner and the Superintendent of Police of Churachandpur and the Director General of Police of the State of Manipur “why the State Police remained inactive despite knowing the fact that the violence had already occurred in Churachandpur on April 28, 2023”
It also questioned why the ‘Peaceful rally’ was allowed and no action was taken up to stop the rally held on May 3 despite imposition of section 144 of CRCP 1973?
Kishan opined that the said violence would not have erupted to such scale, in case Kuki Armed groups were not involved. Several Kuki arms groups who are in Suspension of Operation (SoO) Agreement and some other Kuki militants such as Kuki National Army (Burma), Myanmar PDF etc. based in Myanmar are believed to be involved in attacking and burning down Manipuris villages and even killing and burning alive many innocent Meitei/Manipuris villagers.
As a result, Meitei/Manipuris villagers could not defend or protect their village against the attack from the highly sophisticated weaponised Kuki Arms groups. Therefore, many Meitei/Manipuris got killed in the beginning of May 2023, it stated.
The state forces as well as the central forces were unable to protect the Meitei/Manipuris people and their villages. The central forces seemed to have instructed or morally forbidden, it mentioned.
It further pointed out the state force was outnumbered by a large number of Kuki Arms groups attacking from the hill-side as many Indian Reserve Battalion stationed in Manipur were being sent for Karnataka Election 2023. During that scenario Manipuris have no option left but to defend their life and their property by themselves. Many Manipuris youth volunteers had to snatch weapons from several police stations in order to protect and defend their villages as the central and state forces were not able to protect the villagers from the attack of Kuki arms groups, it added.
Till today, Manipuris village volunteers are safeguarding the foot-hill villages. And Manipuris villagers have little faith in the conduct of the Central force and have to rely on the Meitei/Manipuris volunteers.
Recently, some Meitei/Manipuris village volunteers were arrested in various villages by the Central forces and the State police for peaceful possession of weapons on the roadways or villages in different parts of valley areas, it stated.
Till today, Meitei/Manipuris villages in Moreh, Churachandpur, Ekou, Phayeng, Torbung, Kangpokpi and many villages in several districts of Manipur are not able to be protected by the central force and the state force. Even Meitei/Manipuris villages in Churachandpur, Ekou, Torbung, Moreh etc. are bull-dozed and flattened to ground, it stated.
Meitei/Manipuris Village volunteers are safeguarding many villages without any personal gain and even some individuals/Youth sacrifice their life in order to protect the life and property of many villages, it continued.
“Meitei/Manipuris village volunteers took arms unwillingly as circumstances demanded in order to protect the life and property of the villagers and state as the Central Police and the State Police Force are not in a position to protect the life and property of the villagers effectively and efficiently,” it stated.
Although the chief minister of Manipur made an appeal to return all the armed looted from several police stations at the earliest possible, he is yet to show responsibility, capability and build confidence of the Villagers such that no further attacks would happen from the side of Kuki arms groups.
Until and unless the confidence of the villagers is brought back by the State and the Central Government, and at the same time the crisis is resolved completely, the villagers would live in fear and anxiety. In case, the present crisis is resolved completely and the Indian State is able to win the confidence of the people, the looted arms may return without any hesitation as recently few arms were returned from the already cooled down villages.
“Till today, many villagers residing near the foot-hills have had no proper sleeping hours for the last 7 months as many villagers are residing on the community village halls, roadside etc. to protect their villagers and even checking entry and exit of vehicles twenty-four hours.”
Kishan said the Central and State government need to have little empathy and felt the ground reality and hardship met out to the Villagers, village volunteers, Meira Paibis, local club organisation etc. and took the decision accordingly.
Meitei/Manipuris village volunteers are taking responsibility without having any Salary being paid as the State lacks the capabilities to protect the lives and properties of the Meitei/Manipuris villagers. In fact, villagers still have little faith in the conduct of the state administration as they are unable to protect the villagers till date effectively and to the satisfaction of the villagers.
The memorandum demanded that the central government and the state government shall not declare any Meitei/Manipuris village volunteers or organisations as outlaw individuals, organisations or any others.
The state and the central force shall not arrest any Meitei/Manipuris village volunteers unreasonably for peaceful possession of weapons under any law until the present crisis is completely resolved and brought into a peaceful solution or agreement, it added.
The Meitei/Manipuris villages volunteers and organisations shall be given immunity from any charges or arrest for their voluntary service in defending/protecting the life and properties of the citizens and the State as applicable under any provision of law.
The copy of the same memorandum was also sent to the secretary, ministry of Home Affairs, New Delhi; chief secretary of Manipur.