Killing of migrant workers; UNLF urges all to seriously introspect
Source: The Sangai Express

Imphal, March 20: Asserting that it was not in any way connected with the killing of 15 migrant workers in the last few days, the proscribed UNLF today said that such mass killings cannot be condone anywhere in the world.

In a statement issued to the press today, the outfit said that there have been instances in the past where sporadic killings of migrant workers had taken place with no on claiming responsibility and added this is the first time that killing on such a scale has taken place in Manipur.

On the other hand the UNLF has also stated that the people of Manipur should have pondered over the question of why such incidents have occurred a long time back and tried to zero in on the reasons and factors behind it.

To stop such killings it is time to let the whole world and not only India to know the factors behind such killings, observed the outfit.

Sharing its thoughts, the outfit said that India, which is the second most populous country in the world has seen many communal clashes and recalled how the 300 year old Babri Masjid was ransacked and desecrated by the majority Hindus.

In Orissa Christians have been at the receiving ends of Hindu fanatics, said the outfit and recalled the gruesome killing of Graham Staines and his children.

The outfit also recalled the massacre of numerous innocent Sikhs in the aftermath of the assassination of Indira Gandhi as well as the pogrom unleashed against the Muslims in Gujarat some years back.

The majority community continue to trample upon the minorities in India, claimed UNLF and added that it is in this situation, where there are huge divides based along caste, creed, community and religion that the modesty of many women from the North East region have been violated in mainland India.

In short Manipur will never be able to experience peace and harmony as long as it is under India, a country which believes in casteism, communal divides and religious bigotry.

Given the reality, it is natural that such killings will continue until and unless a policy is framed to protect the identity of the minorities, reasoned UNLF.

It will not be wrong to say that such killings have occurred because of the skewed views of the Indian Government.

Citing examples, UNLF said that before Tripura was annexed by Delhi, the indigenous people constituted 85 pc of the total population.

But after it was taken over by India, the population of the indigenous Tripuris has dropped to only 29 today, it said and added that political and economic power have been taken over by the Bengalis.

On top of this the culture and identity of the Tripuris are under serious threat.

Even in Assam after outsiders started to stream in and took over the work of manual labourers at the tea gardens and brick fields, conflict erupted over rights to land among the Ahomias, Bodos and Karbis, claimed UNLF.

As such it is time for the people of the North East to seriously deliberate upon the incursion of migrants which has led to the erosion of the identity and culture of the people, said the statement.

Even in Manipur today, the population of migrants is more than the population of the hill people, said UNLF and added that this can be easily seen from the number of migrant workers staying near the commercial centres of Imphal and at district headquarters like Churachandpur.

The continuing influx of outsiders has posed a challenge not only to the identity and culture of the people but has also resulted in the migrant workers taking away the job opportunities of the local people, said UNLF.

This trend has also lulled the general public into a sense of complacency, it asserted.

To the UNLF, it is not the moneyed class of outsiders who pose a threat to the identity and culture of the local people, but the migrant workers, who have assimilated themselves into the social milieu of the State, said the statement and cited the example of the many instances of native girls marrying the non-local people.

This has led to a situation where a good number of natives have lost their sense of being a Manipuri, claimed the statement.

Since many minorities have adopted certain steps to protect their identities in different parts of the world, UNLF would also like to lay down a few words of caution, said the statement and observed that in the conflict situation that Manipur is in presently, it would be hazardous for all outsiders to come to Manipur.

As such it would be much more positive for the migrant workers to leave the State immediately, advised the outfit.

On the other hand, the natives of the North East region have to realise the fact that all Indians are given the right to settle in any part of India by the Constitution is nothing but a larger scheme to totally annihilate the distinct identities of the people of the region, said the outfit.

The outfit also urged the people to seriously study the inner meaning and implications by the then Defence Minister George Fernandes at Moreh when he said that the Government of India would build a 'fence of humans at the boundary'.