Rebel group tells non-locals to quit Manipur (Lead)

Imphal, March 7 (IANS) Fear and panic have gripped non-locals in Manipur after a separatist group issued “quit notices” to all non-Manipuri people, asking them to leave the state by May 31 or face dire consequences.

The outlawed Revolutionary People’s Front (RPF), fighting for an independent state for the majority Metei community in the state, set the deadline for non-Manipuris who came to the state after 1949.

“Hatred among the residents was growing against the non-Manipuris and hence we have asked them to quit Manipur or face action,” RPF spokesperson T. Leisemba said in a statement.

The group asked locals not to rent out houses or sell land to non-Manipuris or allow them to head business houses.

There are no estimates about the number of non-Manipuris in the state of 2.4 million people.

A large number of people from other Indian states work in Manipur as labourers. Many do business or work for private companies and educational institutions.

“We are worried and don’t know how to react,” said Hari Dhan Singh, a small businessman originally from Bihar.

In the past three years, militants in Manipur have killed an estimated 50 Hindi-speaking people.

There was no immediate reaction from the government.

“There is a sense of fear and panic among most non-Manipuri people,” said Barun Yadav, a dealer in food products settled in Manipur for 12 years. He hails from Uttar Pradesh.

–Indo-Asian News Service


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