Kathmandu: Nepali citizens representing various sectors of civil society and human rights fraternity have expressed deep concern over violence, loss of life and property in Manipur, which is seeing rage between members of the majority Meitei and minority Kuki communities for the last three months. The violence has left more than 180 dead, many more wounded, and resulted in enormous loss of property and infrastructure. Issuing a statement on Wednesday, they have also called upon the Indian state mechanisms and civil society in India to work to halt further deterioration of the situation in Manipur, and to hold accountable those responsible for the carnage.
“The state as well as central governments of India have not lived up to their responsibility to protect human rights in Manipur, ensure law and order, and promote mediation efforts among the warring sides,” says the statement signed by Meena Acharya, Renu Adhikari, Kundan Aryal, Raju Chapagain, Purnashova Chitrakar, Kanak Mani Dixit, Chandrakishore Jha, Sushil Pyakurel and Dinesh Tripathi. “The first obligation of the elected government is to ensure human security and inclusion, mindful that protection of minority rights is key to democracy. Above all, members of the executive and legislature are required to overcome political party interests and be protectors against loss of life and limb, against rape and plunder.”
When those in authority abandon responsibilities resulting in escalation of violence in any part of South Asia, the duty of citizens everywhere is to speak up, including from neighboring countries like Nepal, they have said.
The Nepali citizens have also expressed deep concern that administrators responsible for resolving the crisis have themselves used “‘divide-and-rule’ tactic inherited from colonial times, cynically deploying the ‘communal card’ for political gain, and relying on the armed forces.”
The statement expresses distress over erosion of democratic values in India. “India was till recently the exemplary country in South Asia with its robust electoral democracy, exemplary judiciary and questioning media,” the statement says. “From neighboring Nepal, we have watched in distress the weakening of the Indian polity over the last decade…. We believe that multicultural peace in India as well as South Asia as a whole is endangered when governing mechanisms and elected officials fail in due diligence, as clearly happening in Manipur.”
They have demanded that the state mechanisms and civil society in India should work to halt further deterioration of the situation in Manipur, and to hold accountable those responsible for the carnage.