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Thousands march in Imphal in call for peace in violence-hit Manipur


Thousands of people marched on the streets of Imphal in a call for peace in Manipur, which has been hit by ethnic violence since May 3 last year. The march was held under the banner of ‘the walk to save Manipur’.

Organised by the Coordinating Committee on Manipur Integrity (COCOMI), the rally drew participants from diverse communities, all united in their call for peace and stability in the state to save its integrity.

The march commenced at 10 am on Friday from THAU Ground in Thangmeiband and concluded at Khuman Lampak Main Stadium after walking through Khuyathong, Nagamapal, BT Road and North AOC.

The streets echoed with chants of ‘Long live Manipur’ and ‘We want peace’, as people from all walks of life joined hands in a powerful statement of solidarity.

The rally saw the participation of prominent political figures, including MLA Nishikanta Sapam from Keishamthong and MLA Thangjam Arun from Wangkhei, among other Civil Society Organisation (CSO) leaders of Manipur.

Many schools and colleges were closed and most of the markets and establishments in Imphal remained shut, showing solidarity to the rally.

Security was tightened, with personnel from both the state and Centre deployed along the route where the rally passed to ensure the safety and security of the participants.

Sapam, who attended the rally, said, “Today, I have come here to give my full support from the core of my heart to keep Manipur intact. We are here to make sure that Manipur never breaks down.”

He emphasised that Manipur is a land inhabited by various communities, both from the hills and the valley. “People of the state should live together and cannot be broken by any factor,” he said.

Sapam also advocated for the effective and sincere implementation of the National Register of Citizens (NRC) to address the influx of illegal immigrants to protect the state’s demographic integrity.

COCOMI had called on all people to participate in the rally. Despite the call, only Sapam and Arun were among the prominent people who participated in the march.

Manipur has been witnessing ethnic violence since May 3 last year following a tribal solidarity march in the hill districts of the state to protest against the majority Meitei community’s demand for Scheduled Tribe status.

Over 220 people belonging to both Kuki and Meitei communities and security personnel have been killed in the violence so far.

Meiteis account for about 53 per cent of Manipur’s population and live mostly in the Imphal Valley, while tribals, which include Nagas and Kukis, constitute 40 per cent and reside mainly in the hill districts.

Published By:

Prateek Chakraborty

Published On:

Jun 29, 2024

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