The exodus, mainly of the Meiteis, continued despite security guarantees from the Mizoram government and “clarifications” from representatives of pamra — the forum of ex-insurgents — that his statement was “advice, not a dictation or a notice of resignation from any community”.
PAMRA later said that the “notice” was a “request” to Manipuris in Mizoram to “exercise caution in light of public sentiments regarding the ongoing ethnic conflict in Manipur.” PAMRA is short for Peace Accord Mizo National Front (MNF) Returnees Association.
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More than 200 people from Manipur left Mizoram over the weekend, authorities said. The sources said that almost all the meiteis in Mizoram for government jobs and small businesses have moved and some are waiting for the government to airlift them to Manipur. Fifty-three people flew on an Alliance Air Aizawl-Imphal plane on Sunday, while 14 and 11 more departed on Indigo Airlines flights from Aizawl to Guwahati and Aizawl to Kolkata respectively on the same day.
Officials from Mizoram’s civil aviation wing said that of the 67 passengers on board the Aizawl-Silchar-Imphal Alliance Air flight on Saturday, 65 left for Imphal and two got off at Silchar. There were 31 Mizos on the Alliance Air flight Imphal to Aizawl on Sunday. They had returned to the Manipur capital to continue their studies after being evacuated from Imphal, but returned home due to the current situation. Meanwhile, forty-one Meiteis arrived in Assam from Mizoram. The Assam government set up a relief camp in Cachar district for the group.
The vast majority of Manipuri people, both Meiteis and Pangals (Muslims of Manipuri), in Mizoram are from the Barak Valley areas of Assam. The rest are from Manipur. Those in the Barak valley have gone home and those in Manipur have taken refuge in a relief camp, a senior official said. However, senior adviser to the All Assam Manipuri Youth Association, Ksh Kundan Singh, criticized both the Mizoram and Assam governments for “playing the role of silent bystander” when Meiteis’ lives are threatened.
“We condemn the governments of Mizoram and Assam for not doing anything for the safety of the Meities and for not providing security for them. At the moment we are praying that Meiteis from Mizoram returns home safely,” Singh said on Sunday.
Mizoram Home Commissioner H Lalengmawia met representatives of the All Mizoram Manipuri Association (AMMA) on Saturday and assured them of safety.
Appealing to them not to be fooled by the rumours, he persuaded them to inform the people of Manipur, both government employees and students, not to leave due to the “unfortunate misinterpretation of the PAMRA press release.” The central committee of the Mizo Youth Association (YMA), the largest civil society in the state, joined the call.
Meanwhile, a meeting chaired by Mizoram DGP Anil Shukla reviewed the measures taken to ensure the safety of the Manipuri community.
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