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Manipur: Relief Material Being 'Withheld' in Tribal Majority Churachandpur, Alleges Kuki-Zo Outfit

The Indigenous Tribal Leaders’ Forum has alleged that the deputy commissioner 'refused' to release rations for the past two weeks, putting 'more than 17,000 IDPs (internally displaced persons) at the risk of starvation'.
Representative image of a Manipur Police checkpoint. Photo: X/@manipur_police

New Delhi: Manipur’s Churachandpur district administration has been withholding the release of ration sent by the Union government for internally displaced persons since February 15, the Indigenous Tribal Leaders’ Forum (ITLF) has alleged. ITLF is a conglomerate of outfits supporting Kuki-Zo tribes in the district.

In a two-page memorandum to Union home minister, Amit Shah, the Forum claimed that “relief materials including rice and dal sent by the central government for thousands of internally displaced persons (IDPs) residing in more than 100 relief camps in Churachandpur had been withheld since the night of the protest on February 15, 2024”, The Telegraph reported.

It further claimed that deputy commissioner (DC) “refused” to release rations for the past two weeks, putting “more than 17,000 IDPs at the risk of starvation”.

“This is another form of discrimination, whereby the DC is punishing people who have already lost their homes by threatening to starve them. We request the central government to urgently intervene so that the supply of rations to relief centres is resumed at the earliest,” the ITLF has claimed in the memorandum.

The ITLF’s allegations came two days after the Manipur government dismissed reports that emerged out of Churachandpur that the district authorities were delaying the release of ration after the February 15 violence.

On February 15, violence broke out in Churachandpur town in protest against the suspension of a constable by the superintendent of police (SP), leading to attacks on the SP’s and DC’s offices and the DC’s residence and resulting in the death of two persons in firing by security personnel. The government in response banned the internet in the district until March 2.

In a statement, the Manipur home department said that the Churachandpur DC “has always ensured that all relief materials such as rice, dal, vegetables and other consumables are released in a timely manner” through local civil society organisations.

The government also went on to claim that the relief was last distributed on February 12-13 when “about 50,000kg of rice, 245 bags of dal, 55 bags of sugar and other consumables such as vegetables, cooking oil, eggs, tea leaf and spices were released”.

Authorities also claimed that a lot of official documents and records were burnt in the February 15 arson and that two of the 12 vehicles damaged that night were used for distribution of relief materials in the district.

On the other hand, an additional superintendent of police, posted in the operations wing of the Manipur Police at Wangkhei in Imphal East district, was abducted by armed men and was later rescued after swift action by police and security forces.

The ongoing ethnic conflict between the Meiteis and the Kuki-Zo communities since May 3 has left at least 213 dead and over 67,000 displaced in the state. The situation remains tense and is set to dominate the Assembly session starting Wednesday.

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