Aizawl | Civil society organisations staged demonstrations across Mizoram on Tuesday to express solidarity with the Zo people in ethnic strife-torn Manipur.
Mizos of Mizoram share ethnic ties with Kukis of Manipur, Kuki-Chins of Chittagong Hill Tracts of Bangladesh and Chins of Myanmar. They are collectively identified Zo.
NGO Co-ordination Committee, a conglomerate of five major civil society organisations including the Central Young Mizo Association (CYMA) and Mizo Zirlai Pawl (MZP), organised rallies in different parts of Mizoram, including state capital Aizawl.
Thousands of people participated in the rallies with placards and posters, decrying the violence in the neighbouring state.
The offices of the ruling MNF were closed to extend support to the programme. MNF workers also took part in the rallies.
Besides MNF, opposition BJP, Congress and Zoram People's Movement (ZPM) also kept their offices shut in support of the solidarity rallies.
Security was beefed up across the state in view of the demonstrations.
Heavy deployment of police, patrolling, and strict vigilance were ensured in all districts, especially in the vulnerable areas, to prevent any untoward incident, officials said.
More than 160 people have lost their lives, and several injured since ethnic violence broke out in the state on May 3, when a 'Tribal Solidarity March' was organised in the hill districts to protest against the Meitei community's demand for Scheduled Tribe (ST) status.
Meiteis account for about 53 per cent of Manipur's population and live mostly in the Imphal Valley, while tribals, which include Nagas and Kukis, constitute 40 per cent and reside mostly in the hill districts.