A peaceful protest to save the integrity of Manipur was held on 17th June at Azad Maidan, Mumbai from 3 to 6 pm. The protest was jointly organised by the World Meetei Council (WMC), Maharashtra Unit, Manipuri (Meitei) Association (MMA), Navi Mumbai, Mumbai Manipuri Solidarity Group, Association of Manipuri Diaspora (AMAND), Pune and The Mumbai Peaceful Protest Group. The groups observed a minute of silence to honour and pray for the people who have lost their lives.
Forty-five days into the violence, the Prime Minister has been silent and has not made any appeal for an agreement or reconciliation. Over 100 people have lost their lives and 60,000 people have been displaced, and taking shelter in rehabilitation centres while reports of heavy firing is still coming in every day. People are living in this war situation with multiple security forces, mob build-ups and clashes in many areas of Manipur.
Around 500 people from different communities and religions from all parts of Mumbai, Navi Mumbai, Thane, Raigad, and Pune came to protest against violence and demand restoration of peace in Manipur. With deep concern over the ongoing violence in Manipur that has taken many lives and destroyed villages, the Manipuri groups demanded immediate action from the Central and State government.
“No Separate Administration”, “We Want Peace”, “Help Us Modiji”, “Stop Hill Valley Divide”, “Meiteis also need Institutional Protection”, “Meitei Lives Matter”, “Stop Deforestation- Save Manipur”, “Manipur is One and will remain One”, “Restore Peace and Beauty in Manipur” were the slogans of the protest. The protest was a call for peace and unity and a rallying cry against any forces that threaten the cultural heritage and identity of this magnificent land. The voices of the people resonated through the streets of Mumbai, demanding justice and protection for Manipur.
All the seven speakers of the protest demanded peace and action from the government. Nabakishore Singha Yumnam, spokesperson of WMC, Lin Laishram, an entertainment artiste and Robert Naorem, renowned handloom entrepreneur appeal immediate action to stop violence. Nareshchandra Laishram, Melody Kshetrimayum, Rohan Philem, and Kheersana Yumlem protested against violence and misguiding people using
false information, religion, and one-sided stories. Speakers stressed that the violence is neither Hindus- Christian nor tribal-non tribal fight.
“Why the govt is silent? People are killing each other. Innocent lives are killed. Homes are burnt. It is heartbreaking that the govt is silent for 45 days. This is not acceptable” Lin Laishram told.
“Manipuris being citizens of India, we should not be neglected. We all have the same rights as much as everyone else in India. Govt should restore peace. The state is under internet shutdown for over a month. Children are living without education. Price of food and commodities have increased. People are suffering. My demand is no separate administration, our state should not be broken”, demanded Robert Naorem.
The Gujarat riot was stopped in three days. Violence in Manipur is going on for more than forty days. Are we waiting for everybody to be killed? What is the intention of the Govt? Are we alien? Are we not the citizens of India? Manipur is a small state but has represented India in many international sport and art platforms. Please save our lives and homes”, requested a protestor.
The protest concluded with a strong demand for pro action from the government and to save the integrity of Manipur.