GUWAHATI: In a massive show of solidarity, thousands of Kuki Zo people took to the streets across several districts of Manipur advocating for a separate administration for their community.
Organized by Zo United, a representative organisation of the community, agitators in Churachandpur led a 3 km march from Lamka Public Ground to the “Wall of Remembrance” near the DC office.
The primary demand voiced during the protest was the expeditious establishment of a separate administration in areas predominantly inhabited by the Kuki Zo community, highlighting their marginalisation and inaccessibility to major government facilities and institutions in Imphal.
A memorandum was submitted to Union Home Minister Amit Shah through the deputy commissioner, outlining the need for a distinct administration.
The document cited the community’s expulsion from the Imphal Valley since the onset of ethnic strife in May, making Imphal inaccessible for Kuki Zo people, including government officials and tribal MLAs.
Highlighting resource allocation disparities, the memorandum claimed a stark contrast in funding between the hills and the valley, with only Rs 419 crore allocated for the hills from 2017-18 to 2020-21, compared to Rs 21,481 crore for the valley during the same period.
The document further alleged that Meitei agitators were blocking highways, impeding the entry of essential items to the hills.
Accusing the state government, including the police, of aligning with the Meiteis, Zo United alleged that government-issued firearms were being distributed to valley-based communities for use against tribals.
The memorandum also raised concerns about discrimination against Kuki Zo students, asserting bleak prospects for equitable treatment in government recruitment.
Zo United convener Albert Renthlei expressed disappointment, stating that a previous memorandum on the issue had received no response.
“A separate administration is a must for the community as atrocities have been committed against us since May 3… now we can live with Meiteis only as good neighbors,” he remarked.
Similar rallies were held in Kangpokpi, Pherzawl, Tengnoupal, Saikul, Zampuitlang, and in various cities outside Manipur, including Delhi, Agartala, Bengaluru, and Chennai.
Strict security measures were in place to prevent any untoward incidents, while a planned rally in Ukhrul was called off following objections raised by the Tangkhul Naga community.