People from the Kuki tribal community were dissatisfied that no concerns about their community had been raised during Biden and...
Digital Desk: Prime Minister Narendra Modi visited the White House on Thursday (June 22) during his visit to the United States, where hundreds of Indians were seen waiting near the South Lawn to see him. At the same time, another group of people who were in protest gathered near the North Lawn at the Black Lives Matter Plaza.
Many of the protesters were members of Manipur's Kuki tribe, who stressed the subject of raging caste violence in the state, as well as the government's alleged apathy and even support for the Meitei Community.
They carried placards reading 'End attacking Kuki-Zomi villages' and 'PM Modi: Hear the cry of the Kuki-Zomi, end the state-sponsored genocide in Manipur, India'.
Lien Gangte, a North American Manipur Tribal Association (NAMTA) member, told how his family was one of the thousands of victims of mob violence.
Lien further questioned, "Why is Prime Minister Narendra Modi silent?' Should we forget? Will we become one of the integrationist majoritarian campaign's forgotten casualties? We demand that the Prime Minister break his silence and visit Manipur as the first step towards restoring normality in the prevailing crisis."
Manipur has been witnessing caste violence since May 3. Aside from that, the internet has been restricted in the state for more than 50 days. More than 50,000 people have been driven away and forced to live in relief camps, and more than 100 people have died.
'Why is the prime minister still not talking and not putting the issue under control?' Lien asked.
'Hundreds of us have assembled outside the White House to demand that President Biden and Congress cease human rights abuses in India, an internet ban, and hate crimes against Dalits, Muslims, and other minorities,' said another protesting lawyer, Arjun Sethi.
People from the Kuki tribal community were dissatisfied that no concerns about their community had been raised during Biden and Modi's joint press conference.
The North American Manipur Tribal Association also presented Biden with a letter emphasising the situation of Manipur's minority Kuki-Zomi tribes. In the letter, they made an appeal to the President to take prompt action before the problem turns into a worse scenario.
The organisation expressed unshakeable faith in Biden's commitment to human rights, calling for his leadership and the deployment of UN peacekeeping forces to cope with the current crisis.
In another letter to the Indian Embassy, the organisation stated, "Since May 3, 2023, more than 6,100 tribal houses have been burnt and looted, 350 churches have been torched, and more than 115 people have been killed in Imphal Valley."
The following demands were made by the community to Prime Minister Modi:
1) In the state of Manipur, President's Rule should be declared in order to offer all essential services, security, and equitable support to all communities, tribal and non-tribal equally.
2) Form a Justice Committee in Manipur comprised of neutral third-party individuals respected by civil society and all parties to account for each victim's death and establish peace.
3) A separate government for the Kuki-Zomi tribes should be established following the provisions of the Indian Constitution.
On Thursday, Prime Minister Narendra Modi attended a joint press conference with US President Joe Biden at the White House. During this, Prime Minister Modi stated that there is no prejudice in India based on religion, caste, or other factors.
'We have proven that democracy can produce positive results,' he remarked. "Discrimination based on caste, age, gender, or other factors has no place in our society. When it comes to democracy, if there are no human ideals, humanity, or human rights, that government cannot be termed a democracy." he further added.
Lien Gangte and other tribal members among the demonstrators assembled near the White House, on the other hand, remain hopeful that their opinions will be heard.
Lydia Tombing Khuptong, another demonstrator, has criticised and questioned the involvement of Chief Minister N Biren Singh and Prime Minister Modi. "Silence speaks a lot,' he wondered. Is the current dispensation's nexus with the state, or does it extend beyond it?"
It should be mentioned that the fights occurred following the May 3 'Tribal Solidarity March' in the hill regions to oppose the Meitei community's demand for Scheduled Tribe (ST) status in Manipur.
The Meitei community accounts for 53% of Manipur's population, with the majority residing in the Imphal Valley. Tribals - Naga and Kuki - make up about 40% of the population and dwell in hills districts.