Home INDIA For Violence-Hit Manipur’s Displaced Voters, Elections “Have No Meaning”

For Violence-Hit Manipur’s Displaced Voters, Elections “Have No Meaning”

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For violence-affected voters in Manipur, elections have 'no meaning'


Displaced after violence hit Churachandpur town in Manipur last year, Nganthoibi Mutum and her family are now living in a relief camp in Imphal, unsure when they will return home. With the Lok Sabha elections just a month away, thousands of voters in the violence-hit state are currently occupying relief camps and allowed to vote from there.

While the Inner Manipur seat will go to polls on April 19, the tribal reserved seat in Manipur’s outskirts will go to polls in two different phases: on April 19 and 26.

Displaced by the violence and disappointed by leaders, victims of the violence say elections are their last thought as election season approaches.

“We are all refugees here. Our minds are filled with worries about our uncertain future. We are in the middle of a conflict, so this is not the time to think about elections. We no longer trust our leaders. have done nothing for us,” says Nganthoibi.

Although the Election Commission has taken special measures to facilitate voting, displaced voters remain uncertain about their choice.

“I think the government has not yet given our full rights. Even with special polling booths, we do not have the same peace of mind in choosing our representatives. If we had been at home, we would have thought about the elections” Certainly.

“Our votes now have almost no meaning anymore. We have been displaced for more than ten months. There is no hope for us,” said Lulun, who was displaced from Churachandpur.

“We are suffering in relief camps. Our ration supply is irregular. Casting votes has no meaning for us,” Lamvah said.

Those who have lost their homes forever say they don’t even have important identification documents such as voter ID cards.

Even as violence has subsided in recent months, holding elections to the two Lok Sabha seats in Manipur remains a major challenge for the Election Commission.

“Our staff has also been displaced. With limited human resources, dividing the polls into two phases will ensure we have enough people and better security,” Manipur Chief Electoral Officer PK Jha said.

In 2019, the BJP won the Meitei-dominated seat in Inner Manipur and its ally NPF won the tribal reserved seat in Outer Manipur. This time, the BJP wants to repeat the success, but the task would not be easy if the Congress and other opposition parties make the violence in Manipur a major election issue for them nationally.

Ethnic clashes between the Meitei and tribal Kuki communities in Manipur since May last year have resulted in the loss of more than 200 lives. According to officials, more than 25,000 people have been rescued by security forces, while about 50,000 people are living in camps as a result of the unrest.

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