Appealing for peace in Manipur, elite sportspersons, led by Olympian weightlifter Kunjarani Devi and former World boxing champion Sarita Devi, have said that an atmosphere of violence has deeply impacted people and may hamper the Asian Games preparations of the athletes belonging to the state.
Khel Ratna, Arjuna, Dronacharya and Dhyan Chand awardees, including weightlifters Soniya Chanu and Sanamacha Chanu, judoka Sushila Devi, wushu athletes Sandhyarani Devi and Bimoljit Singh, boxing coach Ibomcha Singh and weightlifting coach Anita Chanu, held a press conference at Imphal on Tuesday and submitted a memorandum to Union Home Minister Amit Shah requesting him to bring back peace in the state.
Olympic silver medallist weightlifter Mirabai Chanu and Commonwealth Games champion boxer Suranjoy Singh joined over the phone.
“So far 13 distinguished sportspersons have got together to appeal for peace. We expect more to join us. The violence has been going on since May 3. It is due to the militants, who are killing innocent people. We appealed to the Home Minister to help return peace in the state,” Sarita told The Hindu.
“Several athletes from our state are preparing for the Asian Games, which is only three months away. How can they train peacefully in such a situation?”
Ibomcha said, “The sportspersons are disturbed amidst violence. The Home Minister has said peace will return soon.”
Kunjarani echoed Sarita and Ibomcha’s sentiments. “We don’t want to kill each other, we want to live together. We request the Government to listen to the sportspersons’ appeal for peace,” said Kunjarani.
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