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Meiteis living in Mizoram start to leave the state after ex-militant outfit warns them to leave ‘for their own safety’

When Meiteis in Mizoram started to leave, PAMRA said that their statement was misinterpreted and they didn't asked them to leave the state

Days after outrage over the incident in Manipur where two women were paraded naked and sexually abused, the Meitei community residing in Mizoram is compelled to leave their homeland. 

This comes after a former militant organisation named Peace Accord MNF Returnees Association (PAMRA) issued a  statement warning the Meiteis to leave Mizoram saying that they should “leave the state for their own safety as there is anger among Mizo youth” over the incident involving two Kuki-Zomi women being paraded naked and sexually assaulted. 

PAMRA stated that the brutality meted out to the Zomi-ethnic group in Manipur has profoundly affected Mizo sensibilities, adding a warning that if violence transpires against Meiteis in Mizoram, they will shoulder the burden of blame. “The Meiteis will be held responsible if they fail to leave Mizoram,” the PAMRA statement said. It is notable that the Mizos have close ties with the Kuki-Zomis of Manipur.

The statement issued by PAMRA

PAMRA said in its statement, “The situation in Mizoram has become tense and it is no longer safe for Meitei people from Manipur to live in Mizoram in the wake of barbaric and heinous acts committed by miscreants in Manipur.”

Despite PAMRA Secretary General C Lalthenlova’s claim that it was a ‘normal’ safety appeal and that their statement expressing ‘concern’ was misconstrued as a threat, Meiteis were said to have started leaving Mizoram on Saturday, assuming a threat. Most people have started leaving Mizoram by road, driving towards Assam.

It is notable that over 2,000 Meitei people live in Aizawl, Mizoram’s capital, including government employees, students, and workers. Many hail from Barak Valley in Assam.

“Many of the Meiteis are running, leaving their belongings behind in their rented houses. Many of the people from Barak Valley are leaving by road, and there are also many people who are seeking shelter at Aizawl airport. People are scared,” a person who works in a private company and leaving Aizwal with his family of 4 in his car told Indian Express.

According to a report by The Hindu, airline officials who operate flights to and from Lengpui airport in Aizawl, approximately 60 people took flights to Imphal’s Tulihal airport. According to Imphal airport officials, 56 Meiteis arrived from Mizoram on an Alliance Air flight. Meanwhile, several Meitei people are said to have departed Aizawl and other areas of Mizoram by means of buses and taxis.

Nagaland Chief Minister Zoramthanga had earlier assured Manipur CM N Biren Singh regarding the safety of Meiteis in Mizoram during their telephonic conversation.

Following the issuance of the statement on Friday night, Mizoram’s DIG Northern Range issued an order asking that security personnel be sent to four locations to “ensure the safety of Meiteis in Aizawl.” Mizoram Home Commissioner H Lalengmawia said that he spoke to PAMRA and they said that their messages has been misinterpreted. “They said that it was not a threat but an expression of concern for the security of the Meitei people, issued in good faith. Because of the effect it has had, we resolved that they will withdraw their statement,” he said, but the Meitei people in Mizoram are scared after seeing the violence in Manipur and don’t want to face the same.

Lalengmawia also met representatives of All Mizoram Manipuri Association and assured them of their safety and security. He asked them to persuade the Meiteis to not leave the state.

On the other hand, the Manipur government said it is willing to evacuate them from the state through chartered flight. The Manipur government’s spokesperson said that people had started leaving Mizoram after tension following the PAMRA statement, but the tension may reduce after the Mizoram home department’s assurance.

PAMRA representatives expressed regret that their statement was misconstrued, insisting that they didn’t issue a threat. They assured that they will not do anything that would affect peace and tranquillity in the State.

Notably, Meiteis make up around 53% of Manipur’s population and dwell predominantly in the Imphal Valley, while tribals, including Nagas and Kukis, account for 40% and reside primarily in the hill regions. 

Manipur has been burning amid conflict between the two ethnic groups, Meiteis and Kukis. Tensions flared up on May 3 following a ‘Tribal solidarity march’ which was organized against the Meitei community seeking ST status.

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