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Manipur initiates detection and dispatch of 5,457 illegal immigrants, Meanwhile Separatist Kuki-Zo Group cries foul in USA

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The Manipur government has detected 5,457 illegal immigrants in a district in the state, and out of them, biometric data of 5,173 immigrants have been collected, said chief minister N Biren Singh on Wednesday.

Taking to X, Singh wrote, “The Government has detected a total of 5457 illegal immigrants in Kamjong District, Manipur as on May 7th, 2024. Out of the total, the biometric data of 5173 such illegal immigrants have been collected so far.”

He said that the deportation of illegal immigrants from Manipur is underway.

“Deportation process is underway. We have been giving humanitarian aides to all the illegal immigrants who were detected so far. Despite being an alarming situation, we have been handling it with utmost sensitivity,” Singh added.

On May 2, Singh informed that the first phase of deportation of illegal immigrants from Myanmar has been completed in Manipur, with 38 immigrants exiting the country via Moreh, a border town located about 110 km south of Imphal in Manipur’s Tengnoupal district which borders Myanmar. He even shared a social media post in this regard.

In March this year, there were also reports of deporting seven Myanmar nationals, including women by airlifting them from Imphal International Airport to Moreh, a border town.

The chief minister had last month highlighted the report on the unnatural growth of 996 new villages with illegal immigration population while mentioning how it posed a threat to the “indigenous people and national security”.

In the last state assembly session, CM Singh, responding to a question by the opposition, informed that 6,746 illegal Myanmarese were detected in the state from May 3 last year till February 27 this year.

Manipur Chief Minister N Biren Singh has strongly condemned activities by what he called “homegrown groups based out of western countries” for giving a “communal tone” to the state government’s efforts to identify and deport illegal immigrants.

The Chief Minister’s comments come amid a massive pushback by the Kuki-Zo tribes with allegations that the state government is bent on branding them in Manipur as “illegal immigrants” from Myanmar, with the goal of taking over tribal lands.

“In this crucial juncture, we have noticed certain homegrown groups, based out of western countries, criticising the steps taken up against illegal immigration by giving a communal tone and propagating it as violations of religious freedom,” Mr Singh said, without giving details about the groups.

“This is a situation where the survival of indigenous people are at stake, and we will not allow it to continue,” said the Chief Minister, who belongs to the BJP. “Ironically, this lobby is quiet about western countries’ stance against illegal immigration but raise objections to the actions taken in Manipur, India. This selective outrage raises concerns about the agendas and propaganda pursued by these groups with secessionist tendencies,” he said.

Though Mr Singh did not name any group, his allegations that homegrown groups in the west have been “propagating it (issue of illegal immigrants) as violations of religious freedom” came two days after the Kuki-Zo outreach group North American Manipur Tribal Association (NAMTA) organised a congressional hearing on the Manipur crisis.

NAMTA in the congressional hearing strongly condemned the Manipur government’s alleged complicity in the violence between the valley-dominant Meitei community and the Kuki-Zo tribes, who are dominant in southern Manipur’s hill districts and a few other areas.

NAMTA Canada chapter head Lien Gangte recalled how mobs went on a rampage in the state capital Imphal when violence broke out on May 3, 2023. Meiteis who had been living in the hill areas, too, had to flee to the valley.

As per Kuki-Zo, ‘Separate administration’ is the only solution to end Manipur conflict

In November last year, the members of Kuki-Zo community moved Home Minister Amit Shah stating that a “separate administration” is the only solution to end the conflict in Manipur.

Hundreds of protesters took to the streets in at least nine towns on Wednesday and shouted slogans in order to press for their demand for a “separate administration.” The rally was organised by Zo United, a forum of civil society organizations of the Kuki-Zo community.

“We have been butchered and chased out of the capital Imphal and the valley areas. Radical Meiteis are publicly saying they will not stop until they chase us all out of Manipur. There is no hope left now for the Kuki-Zo tribes to live a dignified life in a state controlled by the Meitei community. A separate administration is therefore the only option for us,” the Zo United said in a memorandum addressed to Shah, which was submitted via Churachandpur district administration.

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