GUWAHATI- The North East Students’ Organisation (NESO), an apex body of eight students’ associations, on Thursday staged protests in the state capitals of the Northeast region against the Centre’s alleged failure in resolving the Manipur crisis.
In Assam, the All Assam Students’ Union (AASU), one of the NESO members, demonstrated in Guwahati and demanded that immediate action be taken so that peace returns to Manipur which has been affected by ethnic strife for the last six months.
“It is indeed a shame that Prime Minister Narendra Modi has maintained silence on the Manipur issue while Union Home Minister Amit Shah has taken no step to resolve the crisis,” AASU Advisor Samujjal Bhattacharya told reporters.
The North Eastern states want to give a message to the people of Manipur that they are not alone but the indigenous people of the region are with them in their hour of crisis, he added.
NESO Chairman Samuel Jyrwa said that the central government has failed to address the situation and has jeopardised people’s lives and property, particularly the future of the student community.
”The purpose of the protest is to voice our deep dissatisfaction with the central government’s inability to put an end to the violence that has been raging in Manipur for the past six months”, he said.
In Nagaland’s capital Kohima, a demonstration was organised by the Naga Students’ Federation (NSF) under the aegis of NESO.
In his message, NSF vice-president Mteisuding urged the warring communities to come together and seek common grounds for lasting peace in the region.
“Our call for peace today is a plea in pursuit of humanity to prevail across all socio-economic, political and cultural spectrums in the entire northeast region,” he said.
The NSF appealed to the Centre to take immediate and concrete steps to intervene and stop violence in Manipur.
A sit-in-demonstration was held in Shillong, the capital of Meghalaya, to condemn the central government’s alleged failure to resolve the Manipur issue.
Addressing the protesters, NESO chairman Samuel B Jyrwa said, “The Centre should call all parties to the negotiating table and start a dialogue so that an early solution agreeable to all stakeholders can be reached.”
Khasi Students’ Union (KSU) chief Lambokstarwell Marngar claimed that the lackadaisical attitude of the Government of India forced people to believe that it has a “hidden agenda” to wipe out the indigenous people of the North East.
KSU general secretary Donald V Thabah said, “It is highly condemnable that while the people are suffering, our MPs are not doing anything about it.”
NESO comprises AASU, KSU, Garo Students Union, All Arunachal Pradesh Students’ Union, Naga Students Federation, All Manipur Students’ Union, Mizo Zirlai Pawl and Twipra Students’ Federation.
Manipur has been gripped by ethnic violence since early May with more than 180 people killed since then and over 60,000 displaced from their homes due to the clashes between the Meiteis and Kukis.
Meiteis account for about 53 per cent of Manipur’s population and live mostly in the Imphal Valley, while tribals, which include Nagas and Kukis, constitute 40 per cent and reside mainly in the hill districts.