The incident has once again only exacerbated our disbelief and the utter ridiculousness of the positioning of the Kuki-Zo community as mere victims of the conflict, said the Meitei students of Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi. The students also
The lingering fear and premonition over the fate of Luwangbi Linthoingambi Hijam (17) and Phijam Hemanjit Singh (20), the two students missing since July 6 amidst the ongoing conflict in Manipur, has delivered a “nightmarish conclusion” after pictures of the two being brutally murdered surfaced on social media on September 24, said a statement released by the Meitei Students of Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU), New Delhi.
“Already suspected to have been kidnapped and murdered by the Kuki militants, the graphic evidences leave no doubt on the fate of the two young students. While all lives matter, and each death as painful as the previous, the brutality and savagery accorded to the two young innocent victims have broken our hearts and the conscience of all rational individuals.
While the vicissitude of the present war-like conflict in Manipur makes for no happy views, the brutal murder of innocent young teenage students constitutes “war crimes”, and is the least of what we expect”, said the Meitei students of JNU.
“The various “conjectures” as to the treatment of the two students, especially the teenage girl in the hands of the Kuki militants are too hard for us to put to words, and we pray beyond hope that the circumstances leading to their death be thoroughly investigated and our fears be put to rest. The incident has once again only exacerbated our disbelief and the utter ridiculousness of the positioning of the Kuki-Zo community as mere victims of the conflict”, pointed out the statement.
All credible evidence points to the conflict being orchestrated by vested interest groups amongst the Kuki-Zo community embroiled deeply in the narco-economy for narrow political ends. While the State apparatus bears the responsibility for failing to control the conflict, the Meitei community has been categorically demonized in various quarters, especially in the so-called progressive and liberal spaces, either through a lack of understanding of the region, which is not surprising by any means, or a deliberate attempt to malign the community by boxing us into false dichotomies, said the students of JNU.
“All those voices must also be held by the moral court for their role in perpetrating the conflict, and emboldening the armed Kuki militants, through a narrative of victimhood, to commit atrocious and barbaric crimes, the culmination of which is the murder of our young sister Linthoingambi and brother Hemanjit”, the Meitei students said.
Meitei Students JNU also categorically condemned the high-handedness of the security apparatus, including the RAF, who unleashed violence in the name of mob control upon grief-stricken classmates of the victims and students in general who protested peacefully and demanded justice against the awful murder. For those of us who have been victims of police atrocities across decades, it is with utter amusement that we find such forces being termed as Meitei Police with nonchalant ease across various quarters, pointed out the statement.
The Meitei students further stated that “All of these points to the poverty of facts, the ascendance of fabricated narratives and fake news, and a premonition to prejudicial conclusions according to one’s affiliations. We are also appalled by the absolute failure of the Kuki-Zo intelligentsia and civil society organizations to condemn any of the atrocities committed by the armed Kuki militants throughout this whole conflict”.
“Whereas we can be united by grief, that opportunity is passed by, as instead of contempt for the crime, we are served with ridiculous slander. While we yearn and pray for peace in our beautiful State, reconciliation can begin only with an acceptance of truth. Failure to do so is simply a twisted and perverted use of conflict for an illegitimate end”, rued the statement.