NAMTA urges World Bank to stop funding to Manipur Infotech Enabled Development Project


Pointing at the ongoing conflict between two communities in Manipur that has shocked people across the globe, the North American Manipur Tribal Association (NAMTA) has urged the World Bank to pause funding for the Manipur Infotech Enabled Development Project.

In a letter addressed to World Bank president, Ajay Banga, the association has stated, “funding to be paused and returned to a review process immediately.” The North American Manipur Tribal Association in its strongly worded appeal, has raised “a serious concern regarding project P176733 ‘Manipur lnfotech Enabled Development Project’. The conflict that started with the ethnic cleansing of the minority Kuki-Zomi tribals from the Imphal valley in Manipur, India, has continued deteriorating. Details of two Kuki women paraded naked before being gang-raped have just emerged adding to the growing list of gruesome atrocities we have witnessed so far. Women’s bodies have been turned into battlefields by the cruel and inhumane mobs from the majority Meiteis”.

Ethnic tensions ran high and violence erupted in Manipur in May when members of the Kuki, a tribal community, began protesting against the majority Meitei community who were given official tribal status by a court ruling in March. The court ruling put Kuki community members on edge. Kuki community members believe that the ruling would further strengthen the Meitei community’s participation in government and society and allow them to buy land or settle in Kuki-dominated parts of the state.

In its status update report, the Manipur government told the Supreme Court on July 10 that 142 people have been killed in the violence in Manipur over the past two months. The state police have taken into custody 6,745 people, 5,000 incidents of arson have taken place in the state and 5,995 police complaints have been filed in connection with incidents of violence.

“This conflict violates your own “Environmental and Social Framework ” policy document Section 4(b) since the Kuki-Zomi have borne the brunt of the impact from this conflict, not only the potential risks. Environmental and social assessment Section S(e) Social and Conflict Analysis clearly indicates that the situation in Manipur does not qualify to be funded. These are just a few examples we wanted to bring to your attention and assert that the due diligence conducted for this project is embarrassingly lacking and therefore must be paused and reviewed immediately,” NAMTA said in its letter.

“The recently prepared Report No: ESRSA02581 on July 13th, 2023 shockingly makes no mention of the ongoing crisis. As stated in our prior letter (dated July 9), the categorization of this project’s “Environmental and Social Risk” as “Moderate ” is deeply inaccurate and alarming since it ignores one of the most violent times in the entire history of the state. We, at NAMTA, hold unwavering faith in your commitment and ability to safeguard human rights while you provide funds to make the world a better place for all,” the letter adds.


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