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Exodus Amidst Tensions: Manipur Natives Brave Challenges, Seeking Safety Beyond Mizoram's Borders

On Sunday, there was an ongoing exodus of natives from Manipur who were leaving Mizoram in large numbers, driven by threats issued by a former insurgent organization. The threats came in response to the surfacing of a controversial video from the strife-hit state, which further fueled tensions. Despite assurances of safety by the Mizoram government and attempts to clarify the intentions behind the ex-insurgents' statement, the Meiteis, in particular, continued to leave the region.

PAMRA, which stands for Peace Accord Mizo National Front (MNF) Returnees Association, later clarified that their statement was merely an "advisory" to Manipuris in Mizoram to exercise caution in light of the ongoing ethnic conflict in Manipur, and not a forced evacuation or quit notice.

Over the weekend, more than 200 people from Manipur decided to leave Mizoram. Most of the Meiteis who had been in Mizoram for government jobs and small businesses have already departed, and a few are still waiting to be airlifted to Manipur with the assistance of the government. On Sunday, fifty-three people flew out on an Alliance Air flight from Aizawl to Imphal, while 14 and 11 others departed on Indigo airline's flights from Aizawl to Guwahati and Aizawl to Kolkata, respectively.

Meanwhile, authorities reported that 65 out of the 67 passengers on board the Aizawl-Silchar-Imphal Alliance Air flight on Saturday were headed to Imphal, with the remaining two disembarking in Silchar. Additionally, 31 Mizos were on the Alliance Air flight from Imphal to Aizawl on Sunday, returning to Manipur to continue their studies after being evacuated from Imphal but deciding to come back home given the current situation. In addition to this, forty-one Meiteis found refuge in Assam after leaving Mizoram, and the Assam government established a relief camp in the Cachar district for this group.

The Pangals, who are Manipuri Muslims residing in Mizoram, are originally from the Barak Valley areas of Assam, while the rest of the Meiteis are from Manipur itself. Those from Barak Valley have returned to their homes, while those from Manipur are now taking shelter in a relief camp.

Ksh Kundan Singh, the chief advisor of the All Assam Manipuri Youth Association, expressed criticism towards both the Mizoram and Assam governments for not taking proactive measures to ensure the safety of the Meiteis who are facing threats. He condemned their inaction and urged them to provide security and safety for the Meiteis in Mizoram.

In response to the situation, the home commissioner of Mizoram, H Lalengmawia, held a meeting with representatives of the All Mizoram Manipuri Association (AMMA) on Saturday, providing assurances of safety and appealing to them not to be misled by rumors. He urged them to communicate with the people from Manipur, including government employees and students, to dissuade them from leaving due to the unfortunate misinterpretation of PAMRA's press statement. The central committee of the Young Mizo Association (YMA), the largest civil society group in Mizoram, also joined in the appeal.

To address the situation and ensure the safety of the Manipuri community, a meeting was convened, chaired by Mizoram DGP Anil Shukla, to review the measures taken thus far. The authorities are making efforts to alleviate tensions and safeguard the well-being of those affected by the ongoing crisis.

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