Manipur CM appeals to state's people to shun violence, start dialogue

Imphal, Dec 25 (IANS) On Christmas Day, Manipur Chief Minister N. Biren Singh asked the state's people to stop violence and start peaceful dialogue to resolve the ongoing ethnic crisis.

Interacting with the media, he said that a complete solution of the problems would take time.

"I want to appeal to all the people to stop violence and start peaceful dialogue. We must live together again like before. Displaced persons have to be resettled, children have to go to school, people have to do their normal work. So, I appeal ahead of New Year and Christmas, to stop violence.

"...this is not the Manipur we are used to. Our state and our people were never like this. We cannot allow our state to remain in this ugly phase, lest the goodness in each one of us is lost forever. We must rise in unison and take back our ailing state to its former self of peace and giving and sharing. We must ask unto ourselves, search our conscience and be willing to shed this burdensome hatred plaguing our lives. We must reach out to our friends on the other side, for they themselves are willing to reach out to us."

Singh said that people must open their ears and listen to the cries on the other side and then, we would realise that much has been lost and wasted in a momentary lapse of reason.

"We must seek and allow the humanity in each one of us to raise above all evil thoughts. We must rise together to overcome fear of hatemongers and work steadfast to recreate space for our younger generations, one defined by love, peace and forgiveness," he pointed out.

Only when we are able to overcome the dark shadows within us, will Christmas be meaningful for those who believe in Christ and His teachings and for those of us who still partake in the celebrations of Christmas, despite belonging to other faiths, the Chief Minister added.

Admitting that tourism has been affected in the state, Singh said that as per the availability of the passengers, buses will move from Imphal.

On Saturday the Manipur government took a step of resuming the Manipur State Transport Corporation’s inter-district bus services reactivating vital routes connecting Imphal to three tribal-dominated districts – Senapati, Kangpokpi, Churachandpur and mixed population Bishnupur.

The Chief Minister said that during the crisis time, even in Imphal Valley security personnel vehicles were not moving.

"We have to take some, slowly. All are our people, we cannot use force. You see normalcy has returned to Imphal similarly slowly in Churachandpur and Kangpokpi, there will be normalcy. We have to give time and convince our people."

He denied that violence has continued for eight months.

"The crisis (violence) started on May 3 and for the last four-five months there was no crisis. It must not be counted as eight months in totality. We must count on the crisis time."

Unprecedented ethnic violence erupted in Manipur on May 3, following a tribal solidarity rally that turned violent in Churachandpur district, leading to retaliatory violence between Chin-Kuki-Zo and the Meitei communities across the state.

Around 50,650 men, women and children of different communities were displaced in the violence are sheltered in 350 camps in Manipur. Around 13,000 people belonging to the kuki-Zo community have taken shelter in neighbouring Mizoram.

At least 182 people have been killed and several hundred injured since ethnic violence between the Meitei and Koki-Zo community broke out in the state eight months ago.

Meanwhile, on the Imphal-Dimapur highway in Kangpokpi district, assailants on Monday torched an Imphal bound vehicle carrying essential medical gear valued at Rs 45 lakh.



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