Fear in Manipur after outsiders told to quite state

September 7th, 2012 - 5:08 pm ICT by IANS  

Imphal, Sep 7 (IANS) Fear and panic have gripped people from outside the state who have taken up residence in Manipur, after separatist groups issued “quit notices” to all non-Manipuri people, asking them to leave the northeastern state by Dec 31 or face dire consequences.

The statement was issued Wednesday to media houses by the Coordination Committee (CorCom) - an umbrella of seven major separatist outfits - fighting for an independent state for the majority Metei community in Manipur.

The Manipur government, however, has assured protection to all genuine Indian citizens residing in the state.

“Illegal migrants and the outsider population have reached alarming proportions and the Government of India is hiding the population figure of outsiders from the Census Report 2011. All outsiders must leave the state and return home for bringing a solution to the migrants’ problem and its associated ills,” CorCom said, in its statement.

However, students, professionals and tourists who are entering the state for academic purposes, art and culture, sports, religion or business for a temporary period are exempted from the quit notices.

The group also asked locals not to rent out houses or sell land to non-Manipuris or allow them to head business houses.

CorCom cited the case of Tripura, where the indigenous population had been reduced to a minority in 100 years; in Assam, the statement said, migrants constitute 46 percent of the population.

In Nagaland, despite the enforcement of the Inner Line Permit System (ILP), migrants constitute nearly a third of the population, while in Meghalaya, outsiders comprise 14 percent of the state’s population. In Mizoram, outsiders are mostly Chakmas and Tongchangyas who entered from across the state’s border with Bangladesh, the CorCom statement said.

The statement claimed that in Manipur, the population of outsiders had crossed 30 percent as a result of the “silent population invasion” encouraged by the Indian government.

Claiming the there was a danger of the indigenous population in Manipur being reduced to a minority, CorCom called upon the people to resist the entry of outsiders.

There are no estimates about the number of non-Manipuris in the state of 2.7 million people.

A large number of people from other Indian states are working in Manipur as daily wage earners, besides many are doing business and are employed in private companies and educational institutions.

“We are worried after the threat and don’t know how to react,” said Harinder Singh, a petty businessman originally from Bihar.

“There is a sense of all-pervading fear and panic among most of the non-Manipuri people like us,” said Barun Yadav, a dealer in food products settled in Manipur for the past 12 years, but originally from Uttar Pradesh.

However, Home Minister G. Gaikhangam, speaking to IANS, said the government will ensure security to all genuine Indian citizens. He reiterated, however, that no illegal immigrant will be allowed to settle in the state.

Over 100 illegal Bangladeshi and Myanmarese immigrants were detained from several areas of the state after the Manipur police launched a crackdown against illegal foreign nationals.

“The government is doing its work to detect illegal immigrants but these outlawed groups are issuing the quit notice to destablise the peaceful atmosphere in the state,” Gaikhangam told IANS.

“It is the duty of the government to protect Indian citizens and we will continue to do that,” the home minister said, appealing to Indian citizens not to allow the CorCom diktat to disturb them.

There are more than 20 rebel armies active in Manipur, a state bordering Myanmar, with demands ranging from secession to greater autonomy.

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