Meitei group meets Rajnath, demands withdrawal of Assam Rifles from Manipur


A Meitei group that met Defense Minister Rajnath Singh on Thursday has demanded the withdrawal of Assam Rifles (AR) from Manipur.

The Delhi Meetei Co-ordination Committee (DMCC) said in a memorandum to the Minister that the friendly conduct of the army and AR with Kuki groups has led to mistrust among the Meitei people. AR is a paramilitary force under the administrative control of Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) but the operational control is with the army.

The group pointed out a June 26 post titled “demystifying of peaceful blockade” by the army on letter by Indian Army’s 3rd Corps headquarters to the Editors Guild of India (EGI) to probe the role of media in Manipur regarding the ongoing violence.

The Minister was requested to give necessary directions to AR or the army to refrain from such activities, DMCC said. “The defense minister was appraised about the videos taken by security forces where Kuki armed men and women roaming in front of security forces that have created fear and anxiety among the Meitei people,” it said.

The Defense Minister was also requested for the destruction of poppies with aircraft of the Indian Air Force. Mr. Rajnath gave assurance that it will be done if State government approaches the Union Government, DMCC said.

They mentioned that the protests by Meitei groups were dealt with lathicharge, rubber bullets, tear gas, and even live bullets being fired. However, the protests by Kuki people were dealt with differently. “This has led to a sense of biased treatment and caused anxiety and fear among the Meitei public. It was requested to the defense minister that the AR and Army deal with both communities equally since the Army comes under the defense minister and officers of AR are Army officers,” DMCC said.

The army said on June 26 that women activists in Manipur are accompanying armed rioters, deliberately blocking routes, and interfering in operations of security forces. The army posted a 2.14-minute video on X where it mentioned several incidents of women led groups obstructing operations in violence-hit Manipur.

Since the ethnic violence erupted between the tribal Kuki-Zo and Meitei community on May 3, as many as 175 people have been killed, 1,108 others injured and 32 people are missing. Overall, 4,786 houses were set on fire and 386 religious structures were vandalised in the violence that continues.


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