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Violence-Hit Manipur Students Stare At Uncertain Future

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IMPHAL, May 16 (PTI): Fifteen-year-old Pushpa Karam fears she will not be able to perform well in the class 10 examinations next year.

Her home in Torbung Bangla area in Churachandpur district of Manipur has been gutted in the recent ethnic violence.

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Karam is taking shelter in a relief camp in Kunbi area of neighbouring Bishnupur district along with 42 other school-going students and their families. She has been forced to miss her Mathematics and English tuitions.

“I fear I won’t perform well in the class 10 board examination next year, which might affect my dreams of enrolling in a good school in Imphal,” Karam said.

Karam is among around 4,000 school-going students who have been affected by the recent ethnic violence in Manipur. Of these, around 1,000 have been rendered homeless in Churachandpur and affected areas of neighbouring Bishnupur district, while the remaining are from Imphal East district and Moreh town, officials said.

While the students fear they might lose an academic year as they will not be able to return to their schools in the affected areas, their parents’ immediate concern is to have a permanent place to stay.

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“My books, study materials and even all school documents were in my house, which was burnt. My father says we cannot return to Churachandpur anymore. I don’t know where I will go to school,” 15-year-old Anu Irom Chanu, a student of Don Bosco School in Churachandpur, said.

She is taking shelter along with her family in a community hall in Moirang in neighbouring Bishnupur district.

Seventeen-year-old Namoijam Tomba Singh from Torbung Bangla area in Churachandpur said his chances of getting into a coveted course or job at the end of his school year have now been diminished.

“With my academic year in the doldrums as well as uncertainty over where we will live, I really  don’t know how I will prepare for various exams – NDA entrance, merchant navy etc., that I was planning to appear for,” Singh, whose parents were daily wage earners, said.

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Moirangthem Shyam of the People’s Progressive Union which organised the relief camp in Kunbi said that the affected students must be enrolled in the nearest government school at the earliest so that their academic year is not lost.

At least 73 people were killed, 231 injured and 1,700 houses, including religious places, were burnt in the ethnic violence that rocked the northeastern state recently, officials said.

Clashes broke out in Manipur after a ‘Tribal Solidarity March’ was organised in the hill districts on May 3 to protest against the Meitei community’s demand for Scheduled Tribe (ST) status.

The violence was preceded by tension over the eviction of Kuki villagers from reserve forest land, which had led to a series of smaller agitations.

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

Some 10,000 army and paramilitary personnel had to be deployed to bring back normalcy in the northeastern state.

Curfew has been relaxed in the 11 affected districts for different durations, including 5 am to 3 pm in Imphal East and West districts.

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The Hills Times
The Hills Timeshttps://www.thehillstimes.in/
The Hills Times, a largely circulated English daily published from Diphu and printed in Guwahati, having vast readership in hills districts of Assam, and neighbouring Nagaland, Meghalaya, Arunachal Pradesh and Manipur.
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