New Delhi: Police in Manipur are on high alert ahead of a planned rally on Wednesday (November 29) in support of a separate tribal administration in the state, the Hindustan Times reported.
Its report added that the rally is being organised by an umbrella organisation called Zo United and will be held mainly in the Churachandpur, Kangpokpi, Pherzawl and Tengnoupal districts of Manipur.
A poster for the rally uploaded by the Indigenous Tribal Leaders’ Forum (ITLF), which is also an umbrella organisation of pro-Kuki-Zo groups, said the rally was in support of settling the demand for a “separate administration for [the] Kuki-Zo peoples in Manipur”.
The poster also said the rally will take place in Agartala, New Delhi, Bangalore and Chennai.
Albert Renthlei, who the Hindustan Times described as convener of Zo United, told the newspaper the rally will take the form of a peaceful, silent march.
Most shops and businesses in the four aforementioned districts will be shut on Wednesday, the Hindustan Times‘ report added.
It quoted an unnamed police officer from “a hill district” as saying that the rally would be confined to the specific districts.
“But police will be alert and, along with security forces, will watch out the buffer zones [sic],” the officer told the Hindustan Times.
The officer was referring to zones of armed ethnic conflict in areas near the borders between Meitei and Kuki-dominated districts in Manipur.
Ethnic divisions between the two communities have become extremely stark since the armed conflict broke out in May this year, with both communities no longer inhabiting the same areas.
The violence broke out during a ‘tribal solidarity march’ held by Kuki-Zo groups on May 3.
At least 180 people have been killed in the ensuing conflict and tens of thousands rendered displaced.
A student body for the Tangkhul Naga community issued a statement earlier this week saying that the November 29 rally “should exclude” the Ukhrul district of Manipur, the Ukhrul Times reported.