Sports Personalities from Manipur Appeal to Amit Shah for Peace Amid Ongoing Crisis

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Thirteen renowned sports personalities from Manipur, including Olympic silver medalist Saikhom Mirabai Chanu and world boxing champion Laishram Sarita Devi, have written a heartfelt appeal to Union Home Minister Amit Shah, urging him to intervene and find a solution to the escalating crisis in the state. The athletes, 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, fearlessly expressed their desire for peace to return to Manipur and called for the protection of the state’s unity and integrity.

During their interaction with the media, boxer Sarita Devi emphasized that their intention is not to engage in conflict but to restore harmony. She highlighted that the current situation is characterized by clashes between Kuki militants and Meiteis, creating a volatile environment in Manipur. The athletes have warned that they are prepared to return their hard-earned accolades and medals if their demands are not addressed promptly.

The athletes submitted a memorandum to Amit Shah during his visit to the Imphal Raj Bhavan, outlining the grave challenges faced by Manipur due to the recent surge in killings and arson incidents. Despite the deployment of a large number of central security personnel, the state continues to witness devastating violence. Sarita Devi lamented that Meiteis are being mercilessly killed, homes are being burned down, and innocent children are being orphaned. She expressed disappointment in the lack of visibility and action from the 40,000 deployed forces, who cite the Suspension of Operations (SoO) as a hindrance in taking action against the militants.

The memorandum concluded with a stern warning that the athletes would return their awards as a powerful protest against the government’s inaction if their demands for peace and security were not met. Manipur has been engulfed in violence for 27 days since it erupted on May 3rd, with villages belonging to both Kuki-Zomi and Meitei communities being targeted.

Amit Shah, currently on a four-day visit to Manipur, has been engaging with various stakeholders, including cabinet ministers and civil society organizations, to understand the situation better. During a meeting with women leaders, Shah assured them that a separate administration for Manipur is not a feasible solution. He emphasized that peace in Manipur is a top priority and directed officials to take strict measures against anyone disturbing the peace.

As Manipur continues to suffer from the ongoing crisis, the heartfelt appeal of these esteemed sports personalities amplifies the urgent need for peace and unity in the state. Their courageous stance highlights the power of athletes to raise their voices for a cause that transcends the boundaries of sports and resonates with the aspirations of an entire community.

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