"I request the authorities to help bring peace quickly," Guru Rewben Mashangva said
Tangkhul folk singer Guru Rewben Mashangva has appealed to all the communities and the authorities in Manipur to work for bringing peace and normalcy in the state quickly.
Mr Mashangva, who was awarded the Padma Shri in 2021, said the law and order problem in Manipur has exhausted people physically, mentally and economically and the state needs to return to normalcy soon.
"I am an artist. And I talk only in that capacity, as a common citizen among you. The situation in Manipur is not good. The communities of Manipur that have been living together like different colourful flowers in a single garden have been destroyed economically, physically and mentally," Mr Mashangva said in a video statement.
"I hope to see peace when all the communities come together. I have heard people talk about religion in the current crisis. I don't agree with that. This crisis has got nothing to do with religion. It is also not a fight between the Meiteis and the Kukis. They may have their demands, of course. But they should come to peace," he said.
He underlined two areas that he feels people should work to achieve unitedly. First is saving the forests and second is fighting drugs use.
"I belong to the hills. I come from the hills of Ukhrul. The hills are dry. There is no water to drink. Why? Because we have been cutting trees, not saving the forests. How is the next generation going to get water? What future are we leaving them with? Let us all save the forests," said Mr Mashangva, known for reviving musical tradition of the Tangkhul and using traditional musical instruments in his songs.
"Secondly, the war on drugs. I have been part of the campaign. Drugs destroy generations after generations, even if it gives some money. Please stop poppy cultivation in the hills. To everyone in the northeast, to the people of India, and to all my fans, I request you all to fight against drugs. I have written songs on this subject. I don't know who listens at all," he said.
"I request the authorities to help bring peace quickly. Schools are shut, economic activities have stopped. People who don't earn regular salary, what will they eat? I wish everyone comes for talks and brings peace as soon as possible. All of us need to live together," the folk singer said.
The ethnic violence between the Meiteis, who live in and around Imphal valley, and the Kuki tribe, who are settled in the hills, over the Meiteis' demand to be included under the Scheduled Tribes (ST) category has claimed over 80 lives since clashed started on May 3.
Home Minister Amit Shah reached Manipur tonight. Army chief General Manoj Pande also went to the state on a two-day visit to review the security situation.