Imphal’s remaining Kuki families allege forcible eviction
Twenty-four Kuki residents were allegedly evicted from their homes in the Meitei-dominated Imphal on Friday night by security officials citing concerns over their safety, two of the residents said in a statement on Saturday.
Thousands of Kukis residing in Imphal Valley have fled to tribal-dominated hills after ethnic clashes broke out in the northeastern state on May 3.
Likewise, Meiteis residing in Kuki-majority areas escaped to the Imphal Valley in the aftermath of the violence that has claimed at least 165 lives.
People from the Kuki community continued to reside in a few areas, such as New Lambulane locality in Imphal West district, under heavy security cover provided by central security forces. However, two people from the Kuki community said all of them were asked to vacate their homes on Friday night.
In a press statement issued on Saturday, two evicted residents from the locality, Reverend S Prim Vaiphei and Hejang Kipgen, stated that “the last remaining residents of the last remaining Kuki locality in Imphal” were “forcibly evicted” by a team of “uniformed armed personnel claiming to be from the home department”.
“Twenty-four of us were not given time to even pack our belongings. We were literally herded into waiting Casper bulletproof vehicles. Many of us were woken up from our sleep and pulled by our arms into the waiting vehicles with only the clothes we were wearing,” the release stated.
“We express our strong displeasure at this high-handed abduction like forcible evacuation executed against our will. We regret that a country like India is unwilling to ensure the life and security of its citizens at the place of their residence, succumbing to the intimidation of chaotic forces trying to destroy the society and the state,” the release added.
Speaking on condition of anonymity, security officials said that the Kuki residents were asked to leave in the middle of the night as there were inputs of “imminent danger” to them. They were escorted under security to a government accommodation, officials said.
Since the start of the ethnic clashes, the New Lambulane locality has witnessed several incidents of attacks by mobs targeting houses and properties.
The latest such incident took place on August 27, when three abandoned houses were burned down by a mob.
Police had to fire several rounds of tear gas shells to disperse the mob that tried to enter the heavily guarded area.
Manipur has been roiled by ethnic clashes between Meitei and tribal Kuki communities since May 3, which has claimed over 160 lives and displaced around 50,000.
Eight were killed and nearly 20 were injured in a fresh spate of violence that started on August 29 and continued for three days.