Noting illegal immigrants Focus on valid issues

Let it be very clear. Any discussion on the ongoing violence in Manipur can never be complete without referring to the large scale illegal migration from across the border. It should also be very clear that the May 4 nude parade of two Kuki girls cannot be central to the narrative of the ongoing conflict between the Meiteis and the Kukis. It is also not a clash along religious divide and in as much as places of worship have been desecrated, it should be noted that it is on either side. To put it short, it is not only Kuki Churches which have been burnt or razed to the ground, but also places of religious importance to the Meiteis just to cite the example of Kondong Lairembi at Moreh. Churches belonging to the Nagas have been left untouched. The Tangkhul Baptist Church continues to stand tall in all its majestic splendour while the Kuki Baptist Church which is located nearby has been destroyed.  Just bang opposite to Tangkhul Baptist Church, the Manipur Baptist Convention Church, which is not identified with any particular ethnic community, has not been targeted at all and continues to dispense with its service today. Likewise there are numerous other Churches at Lamphel and Langol areas, belonging to the sub-tribes of the Naga community which have not been touched. Trying to dub the ongoing clash as one between the Hindu/Sanamahi majority Meitei with the Christian Kuki minority would amount to playing mischief with the ongoing clash and give it a totally wrong interpretation. This is about negating the dangerous attempts to give the ongoing clash a religious hue and far from concentrating on the religious affiliation or composition of the different ethnic groups in Manipur, it would be that much more meaningful if the illegal migration from across the border is made an important cog of discussion in the ongoing violence. Long before Manipur went up in flames on May 3, reports of large number of illegal immigrants being detected at Churachandpur made it to the front page of all newspapers published from Imphal. As recently as June 6 this year, the IGP (Intelligence, Narcotics and Affairs of Border) submitted a report to the State Government which stated a verification drive conducted at Tengnoupal, Chandel, Churachandpur, Pherzawl and Kamjong in the first phase of April had detected over 2000 illegal immigrants from across the border. This comes close on the heels of the UNCHR report which said that about 18,27,000 people have been reported displaced in Myanmar in February 2021. Out of this total displaced people, 53,000 people, mostly from Chin State and Saigang region are reported to have crossed into Manipur and Mizoram till May this year.
The figures given here pertain to the detected folks, but the possibility of many more going undetected cannot be ruled out. Remember Manipur shares a long, unfenced boundary with Myanmar. It is unfortunate that Prime Minister Narendra Modi has still not talked anything of substance on the ongoing clash that has sent Manipur up in flames since May 3 evening. The lone words he has spoken referred to the nude parade of two young girls on May 4 but as noted here earlier, this cannot be central to any discussion on the ongoing violence in Manipur. The Prime Minister, the whole of India, the whole of Manipur and anyone with sense of humanity have come out strongly against the May 4 incident, but this cannot be central to the ongoing violence in Manipur. Any discussion on the violence should address the unchecked and illegal entry into the soil of Manipur, the large scale incursion in the Forest and Reserved Forest, the large scale poppy plantation and its nexus with the drug trade. Delhi should also ideally discuss the political move behind leaking the said video footage two months after the nude parade and just one day ahead of the Monsoon session of Parliament. The way to move forward should involve studying why the May 3 Tribal Solidarity March was organised at all and question why gun wielding elements took part in the rally.  The ST for Meiteis demand was just a smokescreen.