Thousands of people demonstrated across Mizoram on Tuesday to express solidarity with the Zo people in ethnic strife-torn Manipur.
NGO Co-ordination Committee, a conglomerate of five major civil society organisations including the Central Young Mizo Association (CYMA) and Mizo Zirlai Pawl (MZP), organised the rallies in different parts of the state, including capital Aizawl.
Chief Minister Zoramthanga, Deputy CM Tawnluia, ministers, and MLAs of the state cutting across party lines took part in the massive protest rally in Aizawl.
Thousands of common people joined them in the peaceful protest with placards and posters, decrying the violence in the neighbouring state.
The gathering in Aizawl was so huge that the city came to a standstill with participants claiming that the state has not seen such a large demonstration in recent years. The offices of the ruling MNF were closed to extend support to the programme.
The opposition BJP, Congress and Zoram People’s Movement (ZPM) also kept their offices shut in support of the solidarity rallies.From the rally, NGO Co-ordination Committee chairman R Lalngheta urged the Centre to end the violence in Manipur.
“If India considers us as Indian, it should take immediate steps to address the sufferings of the Zo people in Manipur,” he said.
The protesters also adopted resolutions, urging the Centre to compensate the victims of the ethnic clash and ensure stringent punishment to those involved in parading the two women naked.
Mizos of Mizoram share ethnic ties with Kukis of Manipur, Kuki-Chins of Chittagong Hill Tracts of Bangladesh and Chins of Myanmar. They are collectively identified as Zos.
Security was beefed up across Mizoram in view of the demonstrations. Heavy deployment of police, patrolling, and strict vigilance were ensured in all districts, especially in the vulnerable areas, to prevent any untoward incident, officials said.
A viral video from May 4 of two women being paraded naked by a mob in Manipur renewed the national attention on Manipur, where violence broke out nearly three months ago, killing over 160 people since then, and injuring hundreds.
The violence erupted on May 3 after a ‘Tribal Solidarity March’ was organised in the hill districts to protest against the Meitei community’s demand for Scheduled Tribe (ST) status.
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.