Manipur Chief Minister N Biren Singh on Thursday lamented that there are too many civil society organisations in the state and they speak in different voices, making it difficult to find a solution to the ethnic problem rocking Manipur for nearly four months.
He urged those bodies to present a concrete proposal to solve the crisis in one voice, so it can be conveyed to the Centre by the state government. “There are too many organisations. We are at a very crucial stage now. Both the central and the state governments are confused about whom to talk to. We will go with the public (opinion) and never work against the interests of the people,” Singh said at a programme.
A number of civil society organisations are community-based. Meities and Kukis, the two warring communities, have their own such bodies. Kukis are represented by organisations such as the Indigenous Tribal Leaders Forum (ITLF), Committee On Tribal Unity (COTU), Kuki Inpi and the Zomi Council. On the other hand, civil bodies like the Coordinating Committee on Manipur Integrity (COCOMI), United Committee Manipur (UCM) and the All Manipur United Clubs Organisation (AMUCO) represent Meiteis.
“People and civil society organisations should come together and take a concrete proposal showing their stand so that the government can convey it to the Centre." “We must come together irrespective of our political and community affiliation and work together for the present and future generation to enable them to live with dignity," Singh said at the state-level celebration of the ‘Meri Maati Mera Desh’ programme.
The ‘Meri Maati Mera Desh’ envisions a unified celebration of India's soil and valour, commemorating the nation's journey of freedom and progress. This campaign comprises many activities and ceremonies conducted across the country. Condemning the gun attacks on farmers tending their fields at Naransena in Bishnupur district on Tuesday, the chief minister said, "Security forces arrested one person in this connection along with a .303 rifle."
More than 160 people lost their lives and several hundreds were injured since the 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.