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HomeNorth East IndiaLast of 10 Kuki families in Imphal shifted to Kangpokpi

Last of 10 Kuki families in Imphal shifted to Kangpokpi

The Manipur government has shifted the last of 10 Kuki families comprising 24 members from Imphal’s New Lambulane area where they had been living for decades and did not move elsewhere even after the ethnic violence broke out in Manipur four months ago.

These families were taken to the Kuki-dominated Kangpokpi district on the northern side of Imphal Valley early on Saturday, as they had become “vulnerable targets”, an official said.The last of 10 Kuki families were provided “safe passage” to Motbung, in Kangpokpi district, some 25 km from Imphal, he said.

But Kuki families alleged that they were forcibly evicted from their residences in the New Lambulane area to Motbung.

S Prim Vaiphei, one of the volunteers guarding the Kuki locality in the heart of Imphal, said that a “team of uniformed armed personnel claiming to be acting under directions from the Home Department came to New Lambulane, Imphal in the intervening night of September 1 and 2 and forcibly evicted the last remaining residents of the Kuki locality in Imphal from their homes”.

Around 300 tribal families, who were living in the New Lambulane area, had earlier left the place in phases since the ethnic violence began on May 3.

“Twenty-four of us were not given time to even pack our belongings and we were herded into vehicles with only the clothes we were wearing,” Vaiphei said in a statement.

Expressing strong displeasure over the “forcible eviction”, Kuki Inpi Manipur, the apex body of the Kuki tribes, in two statements, said, they stood “aghast at the dastardly attack against the last of the Kuki Zo volunteers (numbering about 24 men) who have been guarding the houses and properties of the Kukis at New Lambulane. The volunteers were later escorted by security personnel”.

The Kuki body reiterated its demand for a separate administration.

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“There is now total separation of the Meiteis and is imperative that the central govt should constitutionally recognise this separation at the earliest,” it said.

More than 160 people lost their lives and several hundreds were injured since the ethnic clashes broke out in Manipur in early May, after a ‘Tribal Solidarity March’ was organised in the hill districts to protest against the Meitei community’s demand for Scheduled Tribe (ST) status.

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Meiteis account for about 53 per cent of Manipur’s population and live mostly in the Imphal Valley. Tribals — Nagas and Kukis — constitute little over 40 per cent and reside in the hill districts.

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