The United People's Front and the Kuki National Organisation, which work for the welfare of the Kuki Zo community in Manipur, on Sunday said the killing of innocent people in ethnic violence has caused immense hurt and unless peace is restored quickly, it will have a detrimental effect on the region. In a statement, the two organisations said they are looking forward to Union Home Minister Amit Shah's forthcoming visit to Manipur.
"The killing of innocent Kuki Zo lives caused by spiralling rounds of ethnic tension has caused immense hurt. Unless peace is restored and justice meted out quickly, it will have detrimental effect for the people of the region. The irreparable loss of our beloved brothers and sisters has caused us intolerable pain," the statement said.
Paying homage to those killed in the ongoing ethnic clashes in the northeastern state, the United People's Front and the Kuki National Organisation said the peace-loving Kuki Zo tribe has been forced to protect innocent lives when attacked by "armed mobs supported by various agencies with vested interests". "We acknowledge the deployment of central forces in troubled areas as a positive step to safeguard our community from further attacks," they said.
Now that the Union home minister is visiting Manipur for three days for an on-the-spot study of the situation to find a solution to the ongoing ethnic clashes, the two organisations said they view the Centre's initiative positively. "This planned visit has given a sense of security among the Kuki Zo tribe. We look forward to his actions and directions to end this ongoing ethnic clashes between the two communities," they said.
The organisations appealed to the Kuki Zo population to maintain peace and wait for the outcome of Shah's peace mission to the state. Addressing a programme in Assam recently, Shah had said he would soon go to Manipur on a three-day visit.
Union Minister of State for Home Nityanand Rai had told a press conference in Imphal that Shah is scheduled to visit Manipur on May 29 to resolve the ongoing ethnic crisis. The ethnic clashes that have claimed more than 75 lives in Manipur broke out after a "Tribal Solidarity March" was organised in the hill districts on May 3 to protest against the Meitei community's demand for Scheduled Tribe (ST) status.
Chief Minister N Biren Singh on Sunday said nearly 40 armed terrorists involved in torching houses and firing at civilians have been killed by security forces since an operation was launched to restore peace in the northeastern state. The violence was preceded by tension over the eviction of Kuki villagers from reserve forest land, which had led to a series of smaller agitations.