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Manipur: Last of 10 Kuki families in Imphal shifted to Kangpokpi

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IMPHAL, Sept 3: 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 Kukis..it 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.
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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