Manipur violence : Mizoram assures safety to Meiteis amid exodus

Aizawl/Imphal, July 23 : Amid reports of many Meitei community people leaving Mizoram following an “advisory” by former militants in the state, the Mizoram government has assured the safety and security of Meitei residents.

 Around 1,500 to 2,000 Meitei families from Assam and Manipur have been living in various places of Mizoram, including Aizawl, for many years and are engaged in various government and non–government works, studies, and business.

The exodus of Meitei community people began on Saturday after an organisation of former militants, the Peace Accord MNF Returnees’ Association (PAMRA) issued an “advisory” on Friday for the Meiteis living in the state.

Sources in Imphal said that 56 people of Meitei community arrived in Manipur capital on a flight from Aizawl on Saturday.

These people, mostly teachers of different institutes, including Mizoram University, and students of paramedical, veterinary and nursing colleges, left Aizawl on their own. Many other Meitei community people were leaving Mizoram by road for southern Assam on Sunday.

Amidst the media reports of Manipur government likely to evacuate the Meitei community people from Mizoram, Manipur Chief Minister N. Biren Singh told IANS that there is no such plan yet.

The office of the Mizoram Inspector General of Police has issued an order to the Commandants of the three Mizoram Armed Police battalions asking them to strengthen the security of the Meitei people living in four Mizoram locations.

“In anticipation of a possible development of tension which could threaten the security of Meiteis living in Aizawl, due to the public outrage against the recent viral video of two tribal Kuki-Zo community women brutally assaulted in Manipur, security arrangement is made to ensure safety of Meiteis in Aizawl,” the order said.

The Mizoram government, in a statement, said that it has been closely following the developments in Manipur in the wake of the ethnic conflict which has engulfed the neighbouring state since May 3.

In view of the press release issued by the PAMRA which was construed and reported in some sections of the press as a diktat to leave Mizoram, state Home Commissioner, H. Lalengmawia held a meeting with representatives of PAMRA on Saturday. In the meeting, PAMRA representatives clarified that the press release that was issued by them was an advisory requesting Meiteis living in Mizoram to exercise caution in the light of public sentiments regarding the ongoing ethnic conflict in Manipur and was not a diktat or a quit notice to Meiteis, the statement said.

After the Home Commissioner informed representatives of PAMRA about the steps and measures being taken by the government on various fronts regarding the ethnic conflict, PAMRA representatives, expressing regret that their press release was misconstrued, decided not to pursue it any further in order to maintain peace and tranquility in the state.

PAMRA Secretary General C. Lalthenlova said that it was simply a normal appeal for safety of the Meitei community people and not a diktat or warning.

The Home Commissioner also met the representatives of All Mizoram Manipuri Association, assured them of their safety and security and not be misguided by rumours, and also persuaded them to inform their fellow Meiteis – both government employees and students – not to leave the state due to the misinterpretation of the PAMRA press statement.

So far 12,584 Chin-Kuki-Zo community people from Manipur have fled to Mizoram seeking safety and refuge.

So far no incident of violence or untoward incident has been reported involving the Meitei community people in Mizoram.

Biren Singh, in telephonic conversations with his Mizoram counterpart Zoramthanga last month, asked him to provide adequate security to the Meitei community people in Mizoram and he assured Singh that his government would take all possible steps for the security of the Meitei community people in Mizoram.

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