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28th September, 2023 – The Joint Students’ Body (JSB) Lamka has strongly condemned the partisan response of the Manipur Chief Minister to the recent incidents in Zo territory. In a press release issued yesterday, the JSB expressed deep dismay at the immediate deployment of state and central forces for combing operations following the emergence of photos depicting the alleged killings of two Meitei youths by unidentified assailants.
The JSB characterized the Chief Minister’s actions as partisan and divisive, arguing that such responses are hastening the “Inevitable Split” between the Zo ethnic tribes and the Meitei community. The student body also drew attention to the systemic discrimination faced by Zo tribal victims of crimes such as murder, rape, and brutal assaults, as well as their families. They emphasized that despite numerous First Information Reports (FIRs) being filed, there has been a notable absence of investigations into the cases involving deceased Kuki-Hmar-Mizo/Zomi individuals.
In the press release, the JSB made several key points and appeals:
- Acceptance of CBI Inquiry: While welcoming the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) to uncover the truth behind the recent incidents, the JSB clarified that they would only accept the involvement of Central Forces in conducting operations within their territory. They called for similar operations in Meitei areas and urged authorities not to turn a blind eye to the substantial evidence available.
- Demand for Justice: The JSB expressed frustration with the lack of progress in resolving cases involving the Zo tribal community, highlighting the glaring example of the perpetrator of David Thiek’s murder, who remains at large despite public evidence.
- Appeal to National Media: The JSB appealed to national media organizations to refrain from drawing premature conclusions before the CBI inquiry concludes. They stressed the importance of awaiting the truth through a thorough and impartial investigation.
The JSB’s press release underscores the growing tension and divisions within Manipur, particularly between the Zo ethnic tribes and the Meitei community. It reflects the urgent need for transparent and unbiased investigations into reported crimes and incidents, as well as the importance of fair and equitable treatment for all communities in the region. The future stability and harmony of Manipur may hinge on addressing these pressing issues.