Natives of Manipur in Mumbai on Thursday demanded that normalcy be restored in Manipur and the President's rule be imposed. They were participating in a 'Protest against injustice in Manipur' organized by the Samast Christi Samaj (SCS) at Azad Maidan.
"I have members of my family in Manipur who are displaced. We came here today to ensure that our voice is heard. The media is also not putting across our side," said Lily Lhungdim, a Manipur native. She was joined by nearly 200 members mainly from the Kuki tribe who said that they have been worst hit due to inaction of the government agencies.
Residents demand President's rule
"We want the President's rule to be imposed there and a separate administration to look after the matters. It is better if the army is present because the local police are totally compromised and partial. We are only defending while the Imphal based media is not giving the correct picture. In fact, there are instances of locals asking the army for their I-cards instead of the other way round. There was a woman from the Kuki tribe in CISF who was beaten by a mob. We condemn violence from both sides. It is just not possible to live together and normalcy has to return first. Living together will take a generation or two," said Mangboi Mate, who belongs from Churachandpur and has been living in Mumbai.
Resident disturbed by unprecedented violence
Those gathered for the peaceful demonstration said that while there have always been fights, this time the scale of violence has been unprecedented and places of worship targeted in larger numbers. The chief minister of Manipur, they said, called them names and poppy growers but in reality the poppy trade had many stakeholders. They held banners and the National Flag in their demonstration.
"We are here to tell people how grim the situation is back home. People (from Kuki) are killed or turned away from Imphal. There is not a single soul living there," said a native from Lamka requesting anonymity.
Protesters demand cessation of violence
The protest was attended by members of opposition parties. Organisers said that they had invited all political parties to be part of it. "We had a prayer meeting for those who have lost lives. We condemn violence from both sides. Government should also compensate for the loss of lives and property and the churches that were demolished. We demand freedom of religion," said Joseph Dias, advisor of SCS.
"We have given demands to the PM, Governor and other officials. We want a cessation of violence. We also want the central government to take control of the issue. Unless confidence building measures are taken, peace is not possible is what we have said in our demands," said Sandeep Gaikwad, president of the legal committee of SCS.
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