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Thirteen sports personalities from Manipur, including Olympic silver medalist Saikhom Mirabai Chanu and world boxing champion Laishram Sarita Devi, on Tuesday, 30 May, wrote to Union Home Minister Amit Shah, urging him to find a solution to the ongoing crisis in the state.
"We don't want to fight. We just want peace to return to Manipur. Right now, it is a fight between the Kuki militants and Meiteis," boxer Sarita Devi told the media.
The athletes have threatened to return their accolades and medals if their demands to safeguard Manipur's unity and integrity are not met.
Led by weightlifting champion L Anita Chanu, weightlifter N Kunjarani Devi, boxer Sarita Devi, footballer Oinam Bembem, Olympian Ngangbam Soniya Chanu, and Wushu athlete M Bimoljit, the athletes submitted a memorandum to Shah during his visit to the Imphal Raj Bhavan on Tuesday, 30 May.
The memorandum further highlighted the challenges faced by the state due to the recent spate of killings and arson incidents, despite the deployment of large central security personnel.
'Where are the Forces that the Centre Has Deployed?'
"Everyday Meiteis are being killed, their houses are being burnt down, children have lost their parents. The Centre has said that it has deployed about 40,000 forces in the state, but they are nowhere to be seen," boxer Sarita Dev told the media. "The forces cite the Suspension of Operations (SoO) as the reason behind not being able to take any action against the militants. It has been a month since Manipur is burning."
The memorandum concluded with a stern warning that if their demands were not addressed, the athletes would return their awards in protest against the government's inaction.
The violence that erupted on 3 May has reached its 27th day in Manipur. On Sunday, 28 May, both Kuki-Zomi as well as Meitei villages were burnt down. Fresh violence has erupted in the border towns of Kangvai (Churachandpur), Suknu (Chandel), Saikul (Kangpokpi), Kangchup (Kangpokpi), Moreh (Tengnoupal), and Sekmai (Imphal East). While the first four are in the hills, which are attacked by Meitei Tengol, the last two were attacked by the Kukis.
'Peace in Manipur Top Priority': Shah
Meanwhile, Amit Shah, who is on a four-day visit to Manipur, met with various stakeholders, including cabinet ministers and civil society organisations, on his second day.
This is Shah's first visit to the northeastern state since the clashes broke out earlier this month.
Following a meeting with women leaders at the Governor's Bungalow, Ksh Santi Devi, a Meitei and representative of Ema Market, said that Shah had assured them that "a separate administration for Manipur is not feasible".
“Peace in Manipur top priority, instructed officials to strictly deal with anyone disturbing peace," said Amit Shah on Tuesday, 30 May.