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Manipur violence: Why are President of India, State governor, both Adivasi women, silent?

By Nasri Bai Ningwal et al* 

Adivasis of Jagrit Adivasi Dalit Sangathan (JADS) in Barwani, Burhanpur and Khargone organized protests on 26-27th July against the state-sponsored violence against Adviasis in Manipur. Violence and illegal eviction in the name of "conservation" is not new for Kukis and other forest dependent Adivasis in Manipur. A number of villages were recently displaced in one such drive in February-March, sparking fierce protests from Adivasis in Manipur.
The latest attempts to use communal violence to pit communities against each other and violently displace Adivasis only goes to show the extent to which the state will go to snatch Jal-Jangal-Zameen of Adivasis, and must be resolutely opposed by Adivasis across the country! Furthermore, as a part of the larger struggle against the agenda to loot forest resources and Adivasis, JADS demands that the Forest Conservation Act (FCA) Amendement 2023 be repealed!
The President and the Governor of Manipur are both Adivasi women -- their continued silence on the violence meted out against Kuki women is incredibly troubling. At a time where criminial negligence and complicity of the State and Central government have led to a situation where over 200 villages have been burnt, hundreds of people, including women and children have been murdered and over 50000 people have been displaced, urgent intervention from the President of India is more important than ever!
The number of incidents of Kuki women being targeted, Kuki localities and villages being burnt and the sheer scale of the displacement only goes to show the extent of the the state complicity, while the situation on the ground remain dangerously volatile. In the incident of two Kuki women being paraded naked and raped by a mob, despite an FIR having been registered on the complaint of the women on 18th May, the government took cognizance of the complaint two months later, only after the video began to spark widespread national outrage.
Communal violence comes following major moves being made to accelerate the destruction of forests for corporate interests
The State government has given a free reign to those terrorising women and Kuki communities! Over 6,000 FIRs have been registered in the State, that are pending investigation and action! CM Biren Singh's own admission that the internet was shut down because of the sheer scale of such incidents only proves that both the Centre and the State are more concerned with supressing news coming out of Manipur rather than controlling the violence in the State.
Declaring their solidarity with their Kuki sisters and Adivasis of Manipur, protesting Adivasis demanded that the President ensure immediate intervetnion to put an end to the unrestrained violence that has been unleashed by CM Biren Singh and his government.
Inciting communal violence to further dispossess and displace Adivasis comes following major moves being made to accelerate the destruction of forests for corporate interests -- only two days ago, the Forest Conservation Amendment Bill was passed in the Lok Sabha, which seeks to exempt large swathes of land from legal protections in the name of national security, eco-tourism, and infrastructure development.
This particularly affects areas like border states such as Manipur possess rich mineral reserves! The amendment comes at a time when the government and large corporations such as Godrej Agrovert, as a part of th 'National Mission on Edible Oils-Oil Palm,' are eager to free up forest land in Manipur in order to establish palm oil plantations!
*Harsing Jamre, Baliram Solanki, Asha Bai Solanki, Antaram Awase for Jagrit Adivasi Dalit Sangathan



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