Manipur is state divided, people pulled apart

“All the teachers in the university are Meitei now and they are not marking our answer sheets submitted online giving vague responses. Our batchmates are not sharing notes and we have no way to carry forward our education in the state. The only feasible way out is to go out of the state but I do not want to abandon my family,” a law student told PTI on condition of anonymity.

Meiteis, who account for about 53 per cent of Manipur’s population, displaced from the hills and now living in relief camps have their own issues. Their houses no longer exist.

“It takes decades to build a life, a house, livelihood…everything is gone. We just keep getting to know from our previous neighbours who are Nagas that our house is no longer there,” said Sim Khang, a Meitei who used to run a transport business in Churachandpur.

While over 4,200 weapons looted from the armouries in the violence-hit state continue to be untraceable, seeing young men with weapons is a common site in the fringe areas.

The state went to polls in two phases for the two Lok Sabha seats — 19 and 26 April.

Congress nominee from Inner Manipur and JNU professor Bimol Akoijam equated the violence in Manipur to “Rwanda-like ethnic conflict”, saying separating Kukis and Meiteis geographically in violence-hit Manipur in the name of safety is against the “very idea” of India.

“The kind of situation we are seeing…we don’t believe that this can happen in a settled democracy like India…,” he told PTI.

The BJP nominee from the seat and state law minister Basanta Kumar Singh, said his party does not endorse the segregation and stands for a “United Manipur”.

“We as a party and government stand for a united Manipur … there should be no separatism of any kind,” Singh told PTI in response to a question about the demands of the Kuki-zo community for a separate administration.

The sitting MP from the area, which voted on 19 April, is BJP’s Rajkumar Ranjan Singh, also a minister of state in the Union government.

According to officials, more than 50,000 people are still living in camps following the unrest.

As politicians chart their agenda, they wait for some semblance of calm and quiet to return to their lives along with thousands of others.

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