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War is not between Meiteis and Kukis, but ...: Biren Singh on Manipur unrest

December 18, 2023 17:22 IST

Manipur Chief Minister N Biren Singh on Monday blamed the drug mafia and illegal immigrants for the ethnic strife that has rocked the northeastern state for months.

IMAGE: Manipur Chief Minister N Biren Singh (left) speaking at the observance of Vijay Diwas (Indo-Pak War 1971) at the 1st Manipur Rifles Banquet Hall in Imphal, December 16, 2023. Photograph: ANI Photo

Singh also attributed the current crisis to the 'failure' of the previous government in guarding the state's borders.


Nearly 200 people have died and over 60,000 have been rendered homeless due to the ethnic conflict between the Kuki and Meitei communities since May.

"The present conflict is engineered by drug mafia groups and illegal immigrants who have suppressed the voice of the original tribes. The war is not between Meiteis and Kukis, but between the government and the illegal immigrants," Singh told a gathering at Lilong in Thoubal district.

"Every day, I keep in contact and communicate with my old Kuki friends through the phone. They are helpless and unable to speak the truth as they are being intimidated by guns," the CM said.

Singh said "more than 6,000 immigrants have entered Kamjong district from Myanmar" due to fighting between the neighbouring country's military and anti-junta groups.

Police teams have been sent to monitor the situation, collect biometric details, and make arrangements to provide them temporary shelters, he said.

"We are not against Chin Kuki, but only against those illegal immigrants. We simply want to identify those illegal sections by taking their biometric details and later have them leave when the situation in Myanmar improves," Singh said.

"Where is the mistake if I stressed stopping illegal immigration? Will we agree to continuous influx and eventual suppression of the indigenous populace... original communities of the state becoming smaller and becoming a minority?" said the chief minister.

Commenting on the previous government, Singh said "The current crisis is due to their failure to properly enforce laws in the state. If they had fenced the almost 400-km international borders, and cancelled the Free Movement Regime, this situation would not have come up."

Singh also asked the security forces to take strict action against illegal possession of weapons and those taking the law into their own hands.

"If this is not checked immediately, it has the potential to create misunderstanding among communities and unwanted incidents," he added.

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