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Who is MMA fighter Chungreng Koren crying for peace in Manipur?

A recent video featuring Chungreng Koren, a mixed martial arts (MMA) athlete from Manipur, has been shared widely across.

By Ground report
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Who is MMA fighter Chungreng Koren crying for peace in Manipur?

A recent video featuring Chungreng Koren, a mixed martial arts (MMA) athlete from Manipur, has been shared widely across social platforms. In the video, Koren makes a heartfelt plea to India’s Prime Minister, Narendra Modi, to visit Manipur and address the ongoing ethnic conflict that has significantly impacted the region.

After securing the MFN Interim Bantamweight World Title, Koren, directly from the ring, implored, “Modi ji, for nearly a year now, violence has ravaged Manipur. Daily, lives are lost, and countless individuals find themselves in relief camps.” He detailed the dire conditions, highlighting the lack of essential resources like food and water, the disruption of children’s education, and the overarching concern for the future. Koren’s request was clear: “Modi ji, please make time to visit Manipur. The state is in urgent need of peace.”

The video, which does not bear a date, shows an emotional Koren speaking after what appears to be a match at Matrix Fight Night (MFN).

The clip gained further attention when Srinivas BV, the president of the Youth Congress, shared it on X (formerly known as Twitter), commenting in Hindi, “This is Chungreng Koren from Manipur. "If their family had the Prime Minister as a member, perhaps the people of Manipur would not be shedding tears today."

MMA fighter Chungreng Koren.

Who is MMA fighter Chungreng Koren

Chungreng Koren from Manipur, India, a professional mixed martial arts (MMA) fighter, has made a name for himself in the combat sports arena.

Born into a tribal family, Chungreng’s father passed away before his birth, leaving him to be raised by his mother. From a young age, he engaged in physical labour to support his family, but this did not deter him from pursuing his passion for wrestling, which he first discovered on television.

Chungreng’s dedication to combat sports led him to train in the rice fields where he worked, and his efforts paid off when he made his debut at the Manipur Fight League in 2018. Indian MMA star Roshan Mainam further propelled his journey in MMA when he invited him to join the selection trials at KOI Combat Academy in Bangalore. Under the guidance of Coach Vishal Seigell, Chungreng honed his skills and achieved significant victories, including a notable win at the AIMMAF - IHHF National MMA Championship.

Ethnic conflicts in Manipur have led to over 200 fatalities. Image credit: ANI

Inspired by Indian MMA icon Kario Isaac, Chungreng aspires to emulate the success of his mentors and become a champion himself. An undefeated streak has marked his professional career, including a memorable victory over Afghanistan's Sayed Firoz in the Pro Combat Fight League.

Despite his achievements in the ring, Chungreng has faced personal challenges, including the loss of his brother in 2019, which placed the responsibility of caring for his seven-member family on his shoulders.

What is happening in Manipur?

Since May of the previous year, ethnic conflicts in Manipur have led to over 200 fatalities and the displacement of nearly 50,000 individuals. The situation has deteriorated into chaos, with insurgent groups gaining renewed traction.

10 months of systematic violence against the Kuki community. Image credit: X/@AboriginalKuki

The violence intensified following a march by tribal groups in the hill districts, opposing the Meitei community’s request for Scheduled Tribal status. The Meiteis, who form about 53% of the state’s population and mainly reside in the Imphal Valley, are distinct from the tribal communities such as the Nagas and Kukis, who account for 40% of the population and live predominantly in the hill districts.

The U.N. experts highlighted the numerous state violations, emphasizing the "reports and images of gender-based violence targeting hundreds of women and girls of all ages, predominantly from the Kuki ethnic minority." They allege the violence includes gang rape, the public humiliation of women paraded naked in the street, severe beatings resulting in death, and burning the victims alive or dead.

The International Bar Association (IBA) has also recently raised similar concerns concerning a case of two women. The IBA states, "a brutal and prolonged attack against two women in Manipur, India, filmed and later distributed online, underscores the targeting of women amid regional ethnic conflict. The incident sparked demands for national and international authorities to take more action."

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