Interesting facts about Manipur-The Jeweled land

BY Shubhi Mathur, 07 Dec, 2016

Global Jigyasa - India 101

Neighbouring Regions

manipur

Capital of Manipur and Political System

The capital of Manipur is Imphal.

 

Manipur is a state in North-eastern India and is one of the ‘Seven Sister’*.  The Chief Minister of the state is N. Biren Singh and the Governor is Najma Heptulla.

Current Status of Manipur

Manipur is a multi ethnic state and its strategic geographical location makes it a gateway between the Indian subcontinent and South East Asia. Prior to Indian independence, Manipur was a princely state and was included into the Union of India in 1949. However, the state has been battling insurgency ever since. This insurgency is caused by secessionist elements in the state and their internal ethnic conflicts. The counter insurgency measures imposed by the government of India have been quite aggressive. The controversial Armed Forces Special Powers act (AFSPA) has been imposed in state. Recently, the locals of Manipur also demanded the imposition of the Inner Line Permit (ILP) rule that regulates the permit of non domicile citizens into restricted areas in order to protect the native tribal communities. This has led to widespread violence and killings in Manipur. A similar law has been in place in Arunachal Pradesh, Mizoram and Nagaland. (  Incessant violence, lack of infrastructural development, distance from mainland India and economic blockades by different ethnic groups has contributed to the misery of Manipuri people. Manipur is a landlocked state and does not have any significant economic opportunities and this has been a leading cause of concern for the youth of the state. It is widely believed that the conflict in Manipur is also fuelled by external aggressors (neighbouring countries) militarily and financially.

 

manipur

Issues of International Importance over the Years

Ethnic conflicts & Insurgency

Manipur is suffering as a result of many ethno-lingual conflicts between the different tribal groups present. Meitei, is the majority ethnic group in Manipur and they constantly make demands to promote their language Meiteilon and culture. They want it to receive formal recognition with respect to a mode of communication in education as well as administration. This has become a cause of among other ethnic groups including the Nagas and Kukis. The Nagas want to secede parts of Manipur, Assam and Arunachal Pradesh and merge it with the state of Nagaland to form a new state called Greater Nagalim. This revolutionary extremist movement is spearheaded by the insurgent group National Socialist Council of Nagalim-Isak-Muivah (NSCN-IM). There are also other such movements led by other groups with similar objectives but different leaders such as NSCN (K).

 

Though the Nagas also claim parts of Myanmar under the Greater Nagalim demand, India’s non-negotiable stance has made them reconsider and fit their demands into the federal structure of India. The third major ethnic tribe, Kukis also demand integration of Kuki dominated areas of Assam, Tripura, Nagaland, Manipur, Myanmar and Bangladesh under one nation. Their umbrella organisation is the Kuki National Organisation which is an insurgent group that has been fighting for their rights and wants to establish a state of Kukiland. The Kukis have largely been opposed by the Nagas, who believe that the areas under Kukiland are historically the areas of Grater Nagalim.

 

Both the demands of Nagas and the Kukis have been vehemently opposed by the Meitei people as they want to restore the integrity of Manipur as it is and maintain their dominance. Small acts of violence between these communities usually stir up massive strikes and violence. Different ethnic groups in Manipur are politically mobilising themselves to gain more autonomy, prominence and economic security. The state is distinctly and deeply divided along ethnic lines which has made Manipur a dangerous place and hampered the economic and infrastructural development of the state.

 

There are several other insurgent groups operating in Manipur such as the United National Liberation Front (UNLF), People‘s Liberation Army of Manipur (PLA), People’s Revolutionary Party of Kangleipak (PREPAK) and the Kangleipak Communist Party (KCP). They have been involved in several bombings, attacks on government officials and civilians. They have been responsible for inciting and inflicting violence on many occasions. These insurgent groups were founded before Manipur was declared an independent state in 1972, but their armed rebellion has continued till date.

 

Human Rights Violations

Manipur has become a cradle of violence and has a history of human rights violations from state and non state actors. In 2007, 108 civilians were killed by militants. Growing lawlessness has contributed to the meteoric rise of militancy in Manipur. The inability of the state’s police force and military to protect the civilians from militancy and their associated extortionist and violent acts, has created a lack of trust in the establishment. Consequently, there has been bolstered public sympathy towards militancy and the different groups indulging in it which is becoming a major problem.

 

Human rights violations have been reportedly committed by all parties to conflict in the region and include acts such as enforced disappearances, extrajudicial killings, arbitrary arrests and detentions, torture, sexual assaults against women and rape.   The government security forces are granted indemnity by the highly controversial Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA). Many sections of society argue that the AFSPA violates the basic principles of the Indian Constitution like right to life, liberty and freedom of expression and association.

 

The Indian Army has also been accused by the Manipuri locals of committing heinous atrocities like of mass rape, torture and murder in the past. As a mark of protest against the human rights violations and the atrocities allegedly committed by the Indian Army, Irom Sharmila, a brave Manipuri woman was on a 16 year hunger strike. She recently ended her hunger strike when despite her brave and dangerous protest, the AFSPA was not repealed. Recently, in 2016, the Honourable Supreme Court of India, recognised the continuation of AFSPA, even after 60 years of its imposition as a failure of civil administration and democracy in Manipur.

Tribal Group Distribution

  1. The Meitei
  2. The Nagas
  3. The Kuki
  4. The Meitei Muslims(Manipur state profile)

 

Seven Sisters*: North Eastern states of Arunachal Pradesh, Assam, Meghalaya, Manipur, Mizoram, Nagaland and Tripura are collectively called the Seven Sisters.

Links for detailed Research

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