Toronto & Vancouver— The Indo Canadian diaspora is calling on the Canadian Parliament to address the alarming humanitarian crisis in Manipur, India. Demanding a resolution condemning state-sponsored atrocities against the minority Christian Kuki-Zomi tribals, with a specific focus on violence against women, the community urged the Canadian government to take a stand on this urgent matter.
On Saturday, prominent South Asian diaspora organizations in Canada, including the South Asian Dalit Adivasi Network (SADAN), North America Manipur Tribal Association (NAMTA), Dr. Ambedkar International Mission, Toronto, Canadian Council of Indian Muslims (CCIM), Justice for All Canada, India Civil Watch International (ICWI), International Socialist Canada, and Poetic Justice Foundation, came together in a powerful demonstration to demand immediate action from the Canadian government in response to the humanitarian crisis.
The protestors said that the Manipur crisis has witnessed a disturbing series of state-sponsored atrocities against the minority Christian Kuki-Zomi tribals, with a distressing focus on violence against women, brought to light by a viral video showing two Kuki women being paraded naked and gang-raped by a Meitei mob.
Since the 3rd of May 2023 the Kuki-Zomi Tribals have been the victims of a deliberate, coordinated, and in many regards, premeditated campaign of ethnic cleansing by the radical elements of the majority Meitei community who have the support of the state government. Kuki-Zomis, form about 16% of the population of Manipur and the Meiteis, who are predominantly Hindus, make up about 53 % of the state. While the conflict has caused profound losses within both communities, Kuki-Zomis have borne the brunt of the violence despite being in the minority, especially for non-combatant casualties. We have lost more than 100 lives out of a reported 140 deaths and seen 317 churches destroyed, 6,137 homes set ablaze, and 41,425 people internally displaced, out of a total 60,000.
The protestors said that the failure of the state machinery to contain the conflict in its early stages is ultimately responsible for the ongoing crisis. When the troubles began there were zero efforts by local authorities to douse the flames of violence, instead, state security forces actively abetted violent Meitei groups. It is an outrage that the Prime Minister of India, Narendra Modi, was silent on Manipur for almost 80 days. His eventual comments on Manipur are worse than this silence. His government has perfected the art of tacit approval as far as the crushing of minority rights are concerned. It is in sharp contrast to the unthinkable response such a crisis would elicit in the United States where he was recently given a warm welcome in June. As the conflict rages on, both warring parties are adopting hardline positions that will make it much harder for any sort of peaceful settlement to emerge.
Manipur is one of the latest victims of governance by hysteria where a ruling majority can be made to feel under siege from the marginalized minorities they rule over. To make good on its democratic commitments, India must protect its minorities in Manipur and across the country. In order to jumpstart a peace-process the Indian government must impose President’s Rule in Manipur to guarantee the security of all citizens equally. Only then can subsequent steps be taken to bring about peace and reconciliation.
The European Parliament has already taken decisive action, deliberating on a resolution and criticizing the Indian government's failures in handling the situation. The British Prime Minister's envoy for religious freedom has also expressed grave concerns about the situation in Manipur in the UK Parliament.
The Indo-Canadian diaspora calls for greater autonomy for Kuki-Zomis under the Indian constitution, allowing them to administer themselves. International pressure and solidarity are urgently required to address this crisis, and the diaspora is organizing protests and campaigns to bring attention to the plight of the Manipuri community.