Vehicles catch fire after violence breaks out during a tribal solidarity rally called by the Manipur Tribal Students Union, in Imphal on May 4, 2023. (PTI)

Vehicles catch fire after violence breaks out during a tribal solidarity rally called by the Manipur Tribal Students Union, in Imphal on May 4, 2023. (PTI)

In an interview with News18, Irom Sharmila Chanu said a settlement of the dispute can only be possible if the government is serious and ST status is definitely not the solution.

While Manipur has been hit by a wave of violence this week, rights activist Irom Sharmila Chanu, also known as the “Iron Lady”, said she was “very sad” about the current situation, describing it as worse than the time of the Avsa protest. .

Talking to News 18Chanu also asked Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Home Minister Amit Shah to visit Manipur to “understand the problem”.

The activist who has been on hunger strike for a record 16 years during which she was force-fed with food tubes, was the face of a state women’s movement working for peace in the state.

when News 18 Called by Shanu, who now resides in Bangalore, the “iron lady” was preparing lunch for her twins. In 2017, after being defeated in the elections, the Manipur girl left her home state to start a new life in the south with her husband, Desmond Kothino.

At around 2:30pm Sharmila called and said she was available for an interview by phone. She looked the same, as on the day her struggle with a feeding tube clamped in her nose triggered the longest hunger strike in history, without violence.

Here are excerpts from the interview

What is your first reaction to the current situation in Manipur?

yours: I first got to know the situation with Mary Kom’s tweet and the PM’s appeal. Although I don’t follow Manipur much these days, I am deeply saddened and praying for peace. Manipur has suffered enough in recent years and this is totally unnecessary.

The current riots are rooted in the complexities of history since 1947. This can only be settled if the government is serious. The intricacies and intricacies of the hill and the ordinary inhabitants must be understood and worked upon. The Land Reform Act is, to my understanding, a major factor in this difference and intolerance.

Could providing ST status be a solution?

yours: ST mode is definitely not the answer. The Prime Minister and Chief Justice of India should go to Manipur, meet the society, understand the causes and look for solutions. Posted connections from delhi can’t work things out. The army has never been and never will be the solution to Manipur’s problems in any context.

You have been the center of one of the longest and most resilient struggles in Manipur. Is this worse?

yours: The situation this time is worse than the protest of the armed forces of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan and the times of economic blockade. This time it is the internal conflict. The enmity between the well-known was not a good day for the community.

In the times when Manipur was a princely state, there was no ST or SC nor any complications in the society. There is no land reform law. The Constitution can be amended, there was precedence.

Any plans to go back to Manipur?

yours:I left Manipur in 2017 and decided never to come back. My mom expired in 2018 and my older brother expired two months ago. I left Manipur so much behind and this is my life now. But since I am comfortable wearing pants, I like to wear my traditional dress once in a while.

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