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Manipur students’ body stages rally over Shah’s ‘illegal immigrants’ remark

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CHURACHANDPUR/IMPHAL, Aug 19: Manipur’s Joint Students’ Body (JSB) on Saturday staged a rally in Churachandpur in protest against Union Home Minister Amit Shah’s statement in Parliament that the state’s present crisis was due to influx of illegal immigrants from Myanmar.
The JSB, which comprises the Zomi Students Federation (ZSF), Kuki Students Organisation (KSO) and Hmar Students Association (HSA), requested the home minister to clarify his stand.
Shah had told the Parliament on August 9 that problems started in Manipur with the influx of Kuki refugees from neighbouring Myanmar after the military rulers there started a crackdown against militants in 2021.
The Kuki refugees started settling down in the jungles in the Manipur valley, raising fears of a demographic change in the region, Shah had said, adding that the unrest began when rumours started circulating that refugee settlements had been declared as villages.
The student’s body also expressed its unhappiness on the statement of India’s Solicitor General Tushar Mehta that most of the bodies lying at RIMS and JNIMS hospital morgues are that of illegal immigrants.
“This has been taken very seriously by the Kuki-Zo tribals and they demand the solicitor general to come up with valid proof,” the JSB said.
Mehta, appearing for both the Union and Manipur governments, on August 1 told the Supreme Court that “most of the unclaimed bodies are of infiltrators.”
The protesters also said filing of FIRs against Kuki-Zo tribal intellectuals and leaders is an attempt to silence their voices.
The rally, which started from Lamka public ground and culminated at the Wall of Remembrance, passed through Tipaimukh Road, IB Road and Tedim Road.
Meanwhile, chairing a meeting with the commissioners and officials, Chief Minister Biren N Singh discussed a comprehensive overview of the economy of Manipur, highlighting key growth opportunities, challenges and proposed strategies. (PTI)

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