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Imphal, Manipur – September 28, 2023 – After an extended period of silence, the Manipur Commission for the Protection of Child Rights (MCPCR) has finally broken its silence on the ongoing ethnic violence in Manipur. The MCPCR issued a statement in response to the recent riots in Imphal, primarily led by misguided Meitei youths. The violent confrontations have erupted following the circulation of photographs depicting the alleged killings of two Meitei youths by unidentified individuals, leading to heightened tensions in the region.
In its General Appeal dated September 27, the MCPCR appealed to all stakeholders involved to refrain from employing “widespread, systematic, and institutionalized physical abuse” that could inflict psychological harm on young people. The Commission expressed concern over the use of crowd-control measures, such as lathi charges, tear gas, rubber bullets, and shells, which have resulted in injuries among the radicalized Meitei youths involved in the protests.
Furthermore, the MCPCR recommended that provisions be made for ambulances and first aid near areas of confrontation. It called upon security forces to utilize loudspeakers, ensure adequate barricades, and resort to water cannons only as a last resort. The MCPCR’s appeal underscored that “excessive and disproportionate use of force on children and young students is unbecoming in a democratic country like India.”
The MCPCR’s decision to break its silence and advocate for restraint and the protection of children and young students during these tumultuous times has been met with a mixture of support and criticism. Some applaud the Commission’s efforts to address the welfare of youth caught up in the unrest, while others accuse it of selectively raising its voice and question the timing of its statement.
The ongoing violence in Manipur has raised serious concerns about the safety and well-being of children and young students caught in the crossfire. As the situation remains tense, the MCPCR’s appeal for restraint and the protection of young lives serves as a reminder of the importance of safeguarding the rights and dignity of the most vulnerable members of society, even in the midst of conflict and turmoil.