Dialogue: The wounds are too deep to heal

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In this episode, Mr. Sujit Nair engages in a conversation with Kim Lhouvum, a member of the Kuki community. Kim shares a heartbreaking account of the atrocities her family and community have endured amidst the ongoing violence in Manipur. The violence, which began in May, has resulted in a tragic toll of at least 130 people killed and 400 wounded. Moreover, over 60,000 people have been displaced from their homes due to the efforts of the army, paramilitary forces, and police to quell the unrest. The situation escalated when the Kukis protested against demands from the Meiteis for official tribal status. The Kukis feared that such a move would further strengthen the Meiteis’ influence on the government and society, potentially leading to land acquisition and settlement in predominantly Kuki areas. However, there are multiple underlying reasons for the conflict. The Kukis also believe that the Meitei-led government’s war on drugs is a ploy to uproot their communities. Additionally, tensions have been fueled by illegal migration from Myanmar, competition for land due to population growth, and unemployment, which has driven the youth to join various militias. Prime Minister Narendra Modi had remained silent on the violence in Manipur until a video of the May 4 attack surfaced, prompting him to speak out against the incident. He expressed his condemnation and promised that those responsible would face consequences for their actions. However, many Indians are questioning why it took so long for him to publicly address the situation in Manipur. In response to the violence, the Indian government has deployed a considerable force of 40,000 soldiers, paramilitary troops, and police to the region. Despite calls from tribal leaders for direct rule, the government has not yet imposed such measures.

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