By Debanish Achom
The closer you look at the Manipur Mexican stand-off, it is clear that violence will end when these three things happen: 1) Stop crackdown on poppy farming and opium production 2) Stop identifying illegal immigrants and 3) Give separate administration (Latin name: the land where poppy grows and illegals have settled).
The smoking gun could be somewhere here:
A Manipur cabinet subcommittee exists to identify illegal immigrants.
Letpao Haokip, the Tribal Affairs and Hill Development Minister, leads the subcommittee. He is a Kuki.
Other members are Water Resource Minister Awangbow Newmai, Education Minister Th Basantakumar Singh, Commissioner (Home) T Ranjit, IGP (Intelligence) Kabib K and SP (Immigration) Priyadarshni Laishram.
1) The subcommittee went to Singhat (Churachandpur district) on April 1, 2023. Documents filed by the subcommittee say they found 129 illegal immigrants and suspect many more are hiding among the population. The subcommittee says: "... There is high chance of getting such immigrants getting naturalised amongst common native population because of similarity in culture and dialect." (similarity aka Kuki-Chin. PS: Screenshots of Kuki groups show the community advising their social media propagandists to avoid the use of "Kuki-Chin" and use only "Kuki" as including "Chin" will imply connection with Myanmar, which is bad publicity).
2) The subcommittee went to Gamphazol (Senapati district) on March 29, 2023. Documents filed by the subcommittee say they found 628 illegal immigrants in Chandel district, out of which 250 were at Gamphazol. The subcommittee met the illegal immigrants, and told the police to keep them at a designated shelter home for temporary humanitarian support. The report filed by the subcommittee says, "Shri Letpao Haokip, Hon'ble Minister and Chairman, addressed the gathering in local Kuki dialect for better understanding."
Letpao Haokip allegedly told the other members of the subcommittee to stop this entire exercise, people with direct knowledge of the matter said.
Then violence broke out on May 3 in Kuki-dominated Churachandpur - less than two months after the cabinet subcommittee started field visits to photograph, take videos and document illegal immigrants and their settlements.
Amid the clashes, Mr Haokip led the call for a separate administration.
Read this again - the man who led the cabinet subcommittee to identify illegal immigrants and deport them led the call for a separate administration.
In conclusion, all the documents are out there; all the areas where illegals have settled are mapped and entered into police records. The Central Bureau of Investigation, which is looking into the Manipur conspiracy, will unravel them in due time and the engineers of the violence will run out of space as the long arm of the law reaches for their neck.
The large scale crackdown on poppy plantations and identification of illegal immigrants started under the leadership of Manipur Chief Minister N Biren Singh, a Meitei - which is why those who want to preserve poppy farming and welcome illegals also desperately want N Biren Singh to be removed.
N Biren Singh belongs to the BJP, the party of Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Both are easy targets of self-serving shoot and scoot intellectuals - domestic and foreign - who have no interest in the welfare of Manipur.