The North-Eastern Indian state of Manipur has seen unprecedented violence over the past five months. The state is home to many big stars in the Indian sporting ecosystem, many of whom have spoken up about the issue, and appealed for peace.
Jeakson Singh sought it after winning the SAFF Championship in Bengaluru earlier this year. Suresh Singh Wangjam has taken to social media to appeal for normalcy.
I might only be an athlete, and I am not sure how far my voice will reach. Yet, I would request the government to give the issue its complete attention so that this mindless violence can be resolved and peace and normalcy can return to our beautiful state. 🤍
Dheeraj Singh spoke to ESPN India about the humanitarian crisis and appealed for everyone to sit together and come up with a solution. Another big name, one of the biggest in the state, wants his appeal to be heard as well.
Gouramangi Singh is a modern Indian footballing great, having been capped by India more than 70 times, and is now the assistant coach at Indian Super League side FC Goa. Like Dheeraj, Gouramangi expressed his anguish at the plight of his home state and sought nationwide attention to be cast on it.
"My family is still in Manipur. The situation is far from normal," he said. "Everyone is hoping and praying that normalcy is restored at the earliest."
"People on ground are tired and exhausted. How long are the women folk going to continue sleeping on roads and community halls at night? How long are the village volunteers expected to continue to guard their villages? These are normal working citizens like you and I, what's happening there is not fair."
"How are they going to manage their life without working for months altogether?"
"We have lost hundreds of lives, many are injured," he said. "Take a moment and think about what their families must be going through right now. What is their future?"
"The people in relief camps, their number are in thousands. When can they go back to their homes? Some of them are left with nothing, with nowhere to go," he added.
Official figures put the death toll at 175 and nearly 5000 houses burned down, but that was a month ago, and they are conservative numbers. According to the news portal The Wire, more than 70,000 people have been displaced from their homes and are currently in refugee camps.
"The question that everyone is asking is, why the people in position and power are letting this situation continue for more than 5 months?" As a citizen of this country and a person who calls Manipur home, I request to all the citizens of this country to help in bringing back peace and normalcy in Manipur. To be our voice."
"It is the least that we expect."
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