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Press Trust of India|Sep 26, 2023
NEW DELHI: JNU students hailing from Northeast states including those belonging to Meitei and Kuki communities have joined hands to help people displaced by the recent violence in Manipur, a students' forum said on Thursday. The students under the banner of North East Students' Forum (NESF) of the Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) are working round-the-clock in a bid to help people from the state by conducting donation drives on the campus.
The students, who believe "humanity comes above everything", have already sent Rs 30,000 collected during the collection drives in the past three days to relief camps, the forum said. "The NESF of JNU conducted a donation drive to collect funds to send to relief camps in Manipur for the victims of the violence," a PhD student from Arunachal Pradesh, who is part of the forum, said.
Violent clashes broke out in Manipur after a 'Tribal Solidarity March' was organised in the 10 hill districts on May 3 to protest against the Meitei community's demand for Scheduled Tribe status. Since May 4 itself, the NESF sprung into action and hosted a meeting to figure out the ways to help the displaced people. A student belonging to the Meitei community, who is pursuing PhD at the varsity, is of the view that this is not the time to blame anyone but to come forward and help people.
"We cannot say who are men and women behind the violence. We don't want to enter the blame game. What now require is to restore peace there. We can have our differences. Here are students from different communities in Manipur. "Instead of referring to ourselves by the name of communities, we refer to ourselves as people of Manipur. We are working together to collect fund. We don't want to divide us due to the name. As a student community, we represent our state and Northeast India," said Yumkhams Santosh, Convener of NESF, who is a Meitei from Manipur.
“Instead of referring to ourselves by the name of communities, we refer to ourselves as people of Manipur. We are working together to collect fund,” said Yumkhams Santosh, a #Meitei from #Manipur— Vishu Adhana (@vishuadhana08) May 11, 2023
Meitei is one of the most affected community of recent ethnic clashes. (2/n)
The students set up small donation stations across the JNU with posters taped on cardboard. The posters had photos of evacuation, relief camps and the UPI bar code. One of the posters read "The smallest act of kindness is worth more than the grandest intention". The students have worked relentlessly for several days in a bid to help the people stuck there. At the stations, the students at regular intervals were seen asking for donations using a mic.
One of the volunteers at one of the donation stations said: "This is a donation drive. We are gathered here for the people of Manipur who are affected by the current violence that happened in the state. So we appeal to everybody to come forward and donate for the cause." In the recently conducted drive, students in the university came forward and donated money. In addition to the donation drive, the students are holding meetings to discuss the matter of Manipur.
"After the drive, we did not provide money directly to the beneficiaries but transfer it to people running relief camps. We are figuring out more ways to help people in the state in some or the other way," said Newlandson, who is a Naga from Manipur. The ethnic clashes in Manipur were preceded by tension over the eviction of Kuki villagers from reserve forest land, which had led to a series of smaller agitations.
Manipur Chief Minister N Biren Singh had on May 8 said that 60 people were killed, 231 injured and 1,700 houses including religious places burnt in the ethnic violence that rocked the northeastern state for the past few days. A total of 3,583 people from Manipur fled to Mizoram after ethnic violence broke out last week, officials said on Thursday.
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