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Manipur Tribal Forum Demands Withdrawal Of State Police Personnel From Moreh

In a press statement, the ILTF leaders said it is alarmed over the Manipur government’s attempt to station state security forces in Moreh town in Tengnoupal district, which is inhabited by Kuki-Zo tribals.

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The Indigenous Tribal Leaders Forum (ITLF) on Monday threatened to launch an agitation in all the tribal districts of Manipur if the state government failed to withdraw state police personnel from Moreh immediately. This comes hours after over 1,000 women in Churachandpur staged a stir demanding removal of  police forces from the town bordering Myanmar.

"To maintain fairness and neutrality, we humbly request the government to withdraw (state) security personnel from Moreh," ILTF said, adding that if the demand is not acceded, "We will be forced to start a public agitation in all tribal districts."

In a press statement, the ILTF leaders said it is alarmed over the Manipur government’s attempt to station state security forces in Moreh town in Tengnoupal district, which is inhabited by Kuki-Zo tribals. There have been allegations by Kukis that the state police which heavily draws on Meitei personnel is partisan. 

The ITLF said it “fears that cadres of the militant groups are embedded with police and could wreak havoc if they enter Moreh. It may be also mentioned that the majority of policemen in Tengnoupal district are from the majority community.”  ITLF said, “Tribal women in Moreh are blocking the national highway in an effort to stop state forces from entering the border town.”

On July 28, thousands of Kuki-Zo women in Tengnoupal district had blocked the road to Moreh to stop police forces from entering the town. A convoy of ten vehicles of security forces including the Indian Reserve Battalion, Manipur Rifles and commandoes were heading towards Moreh town when the womenfolk obstructed them at Tengnoupal. This comes days after the opposition bloc INDIA on Sunday said if the conflict in Manipur is not resolved soon, it may create security problems for the whole nation.

More than 160 people lost their lives and several hundreds were injured since ethnic clashes broke out in Manipur on May 3, after a 'Tribal Solidarity March' was organised in the hill districts to protest against the Meitei community's demand for Scheduled Tribe (ST) status. Meiteis account for about 53 per cent of Manipur's population and live mostly in the Imphal Valley. Tribals -- Nagas and Kukis -- constitute little over 40 per cent and reside in the hill districts.

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