New Delhi: Rajya Sabha MP from Mizoram K Vanlalvena on Thursday wrote to Union Home Minister Amit Shah seeking the Centre's intervention in the wake of violence in Manipur.
In his letter to Shah, Vanlalvena said, "I write to express my deepest concern over the recent incidents of violence and conflict happening in neighbouring state of Manipur over the controversial issue of eviction of local indigenous people from the contentious Reserved and Protected Forests." He said North East India is home to hundreds of different tribes and communities, with each tribe inhabiting their own native land and enjoying equal rights since the time of our forefathers.
MP points out to eviction drives of the indigenous persons
"However, it is truly unfortunate that the State Government of Manipur initiated the recent eviction drives of the indigenous persons from their rightful lands which have subsequently erupted in violence and unnecessary bloodshed. The lands where the Manipur government conducted the eviction recently have been inhabited by different tribes of the Mizo ethnic group since many ages ago till the present day," the Rajya Sabha MP said.
"They have been living here peacefully without harassment from other tribes or races since time immemorial. However, the present situation, if not solved quickly may lead the whole North East states into communal disturbances as we are all living together everywhere," he added.
As a direct result of the recent actions of the Manipur government, Vanlalvena said violence has erupted in various parts of the state and many houses, as well as church buildings, have been set on fire in Imphal area and government buildings have also torched in Churachandpur, Moreh and other small towns nearby and it is feared that many lives will be lost if the violence is allowed to continue.
"While people from all states including Meiteis have been allowed to peacefully stay in Mizoram in pursuit of studies or livelihood, we are truly disappointed that our Zo brethren are living in fear in Manipur," he said.
MP seeks immediate intervention of the central government
"I therefore appeal to you to kindly ensure immediate intervention of the central government so that the violence is put to an immediate end by stopping the Manipur government from trying to convert the rightful land of the indigenous tribal people into forest reserves, in the interest of justice and to ensure that communal harmony and peace is restored in the region," added the Rajya Sabha MP.
Meanwhile, Manipur Chief Minister N Biren Singh on Thursday had a telephonic conversation with his Mizoram counterpart Zoramthanga and urged him to appeal for peace in the wake of the recent violence.
Mizoram Chief Minister's Office (CMO) sources told ANI that the two CMs spoke for more than 45 minutes on the violent situation in the state of Manipur. "The Manipur CM asked Zoramthanga to make an appeal for peace as he is one of the most senior politicians in the region and one of the most senior chief ministers of the north-east region," a source in the Mizoram CMO told ANI.
Zoramthanga has made a call to Union Home Minister Amit Shah requesting for additional forces to be deployed in Manipur.
CMO sources said that Zoramthanga had a conversation with Home Minister Shah for close to 15 minutes.
Additional forces deployed in Manipur
It may be noted that the central government has already deployed additional forces in Manipur.
Zoramthanga wrote a letter to Biren Singh expressing pain at the violence and urged him to reach out to all parties.
Manipur Governor on Thursday authorised all District Magistrates, Sub-Divisional Magistrates and all Executive Magistrates/Special Executive Magistrates to issue Shoot at sight orders 'in extreme cases whereby all forms of persuasion, warning, reasonable force etc has been exhausted', an official statement issued by the office of Manipur Governor said.
Earlier on Thursday, Union Home Minister Amit Shah spoke to Manipur Chief Minister N Biren Singh and took stock of the situation in the State where law and order were disrupted after tribal groups took out rallies in several districts.
In the telephonic conversation with Manipur Chief Minister, the Union Home Minister was apprised of the present situation and the steps being taken by the State government to control it.
5 RAF & CRPF deployed
A total of five companies of the Rapid Action Force (RAF) of the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) were airlifted on Thursday to violence-hit Manipur on the directions of the Union home ministry.
After clashes in various parts of Manipur after a mass rally held by tribal groups, Chief Minister N Biren Singh said that the incidents were a result of a "prevailing misunderstanding between two communities".
Earlier violence had broke out during the 'Tribal Solidarity March' called by the All Tribal Student Union Manipur (ATSUM) in the Torbung area of Churachandpur district to protest the demand of non-tribal Meiteis, who dominate the Imphal Valley, for Scheduled Tribe (ST) status.
Thousands of tribals -- who make up about 40 per cent of the state's population -- joined the processions, waved placards and raised slogans opposing ST status for the Meitei.