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November 3, 2023 – Lamka, Churachandpur District, Manipur: The Kuki Women Organisation for Human Rights (KWOHR) has issued a strong condemnation of the actions taken by state police commandos in Moreh, following the recent death of a Meitei police officer. According to the organization, the police have been using excessive force during search operations, resulting in several civilian injuries and injustices.
In a press statement dated November 3, 2023, the KWOHR reported that Kuki-Zo civilians, including women and the elderly, have been subjected to severe beatings. The statement details incidents where police commandos assaulted civilians, with three women sustaining head injuries from being hit with walkie-talkies, leading to their hospitalization.
Moreover, the KWOHR accused the commandos of stealing from church donation boxes and robbing women of money. They also claimed that there have been multiple instances of house vandalism, burning of properties, and looting of valuable items such as vehicles, gold, and jewelry. These actions have drawn a stark comparison with the tactics of a Junta regime, suggesting a severe crisis of democratic values and human rights in the area.
The release further details the plight of the local civilians, revealing that in fear of the brutalities, many have fled to the jungles, while others have sought refuge in the 5 Assam Rifles (AR) camps within Moreh town. These people, including children and the sick, spent the night without access to food, medicine, or drinking water, indicating a humanitarian crisis.
The organization has expressed its concern over the deployment and continued presence of additional state forces in Moreh, asserting that it only serves to escalate the tension. The KWOHR called for the immediate withdrawal of all state forces from the town and demanded that the police personnel involved in these operations be held accountable for their actions.
The statement also mentioned the visit of the Union Home Minister, Shri Amit Shah, to Moreh on June 1, 2023, during which he reportedly promised the withdrawal of police commandos within three days. The KWOHR is urging the minister to fulfill this assurance and to recognize the Kuki-Zo people as equal citizens of India.
The press release by the KWOHR was signed by Margaret, the Secretary for Information & Publicity, who asserted that militarization is not the answer to the issues in Moreh. The statement made it clear that the presence of police commandos is viewed as a problem rather than a solution and that the Kuki-Zo people refuse to live under what they describe as “jungle raj.”
This press condemnation by the Kuki Women Organisation for Human Rights highlights the intense situation in Moreh and calls for immediate attention and action from the government to restore peace and ensure the protection of human rights for the local populace.