Probe involvement of 2 radical Meitei groups in Manipur pogrom: tribal student bodies 

The violence unleashed by suspected members of Arambai Tenggol and Meitei Leepun was a gross violation of human rights, five tribal students’ organisations said 

May 19, 2023 08:26 am | Updated 08:26 am IST - GUWAHATI

Houses that were set on fire and vandalised by mobs are seen in Khumujamba village on the outskirts of Churachandpur on May 9, 2023, in a violence hit area of Manipur.

Houses that were set on fire and vandalised by mobs are seen in Khumujamba village on the outskirts of Churachandpur on May 9, 2023, in a violence hit area of Manipur. | Photo Credit: AFP

GUWAHATI: Five organisations of tribal students of Manipur in New Delhi have demanded a probe into the alleged involvement of two radical Meitei groups in the “pre-planned” communal violence in the northeastern State unleashed on May 3. 

The arson and violence killed more than 70 people, destroyed about 1,700 houses, and displaced 35,000 people. 

Meiteis | Clash of clans in Manipur

“The pogrom unleashed by the suspected Arambai Tenggol and Meitei Leepun upon the tribal people of Manipur is a gross violation of human rights, most uncivilised and highly condemnable and punishable in the national and international courts of law,” a statement issued by the five organisations on May 18 said. 

The organisations are Zomi Students’ Federation Delhi, Zou Sangnaupang Pawlpi Delhi, Hmar Students’ Association Delhi, Kuki Students’ Organisation Delhi, and Gangte Students’ Organisation Delhi. 

“Many eyewitnesses and victims narrated that the violent attackers wore black T-shirts similar to those worn by the members of Arambai Tenggol. It has also been reported that houses belonging to the tribal people in (State capital) Imphal had been marked with a strange red spray painted well before the violent attacks started on the night of May 3,” the organisations said. 

“This incident clearly suggests that the violent attacks on tribal people were pre-planned,” the organisations added, demanding the immediate arrest of perpetrators and instigators of the violence and their punishment according to the law. 

‘Like RSS, Bajrang Dal’

Congress leader, Bhakta Charan Das had earlier likened Arambai Tenggol, named after a weapon used by the Manipuri kings, and Meitei Leepun to the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh and the Bajrang Dal. 

Said to have been formed less than five years ago, members of these groups wear black clothes and move around with guns in large groups on two-wheelers. These groups, the tribal students’ organisations said, were said to have targeted villages and urban localities of Kuki-Zomi-Hmar-Mizo people, burned their houses and churches, and raped their women besides killing and injuring many. 

The tribal students’ bodies urge the government to neutralise the Arambai Tenggol and Meitei Leepun groups and take action against the influential people behind them to ensure the safe return of the displaced tribal people to their respective homes and villages. 

The students’ bodies also demand an investigation by Central government security agencies into the alleged involvement of certain vested interests and highly-placed individuals in the series of violent attacks against the tribal people of Manipur. 

They further sought the Centre’s help in the proper handling and preservation of the mortal remains and the belongings of the tribal people massacred by the suspected Arambai Tenggol and Meitei Leepun groups. 

“The said mortal remains are lying at the Regional Institute of Medical Sciences and the Jawaharlal Nehru Institute of Medical Sciences in Imphal. The State government must arrange special cold storage to preserve the mortal remains until the identification and the final rites are completed,” the organisations said. 

The students’ organisations also extended “wholehearted support” to the 10 tribal MLAs of Manipur who demanded a separate administration for the Kuki-Hmar-Zomi-Mizo people. EOM 

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