Ten tribal MLAs, who belong to the Chin-Kuki-Mizo-Zomi group in Manipur, have asked the Centre for their own separate administration for their region, after the recent violent clashes between the valley dwellers, the Meiteis on one side and the tribals on the other.
Of the 10 legislators, 7 belong to the BJP, two are from Kuki People’s Alliance (KPA) and one is an Independent. The two KPA and independent MLAs are also part of the NDA led by the BJP.
In a statement issued on Friday (May 12), the MLAs said that as the state of Manipur has miserably failed to protect them, they seek from the Union of India a separate administration under the Constitution of India and live peacefully as neighbours with the state of Manipur.
The legislators alleged that violence was perpetrated by the majority Meitei community and was tacitly supported by the BJP-run state government.
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The statement said that the “unabated violence” that began on May 3, 2023, in Manipur, which according to them was perpetrated by the majority Meiteis, was tacitly supported by the Manipur government, against the Chin-Kuki-Mizo-Zorni hill tribals. This has already partitioned the state and effected a total separation from the state of Manipur, added the statement.
The MLAs are Haokholet Kipgen, Ngursanglur Sanate, Kimneo Haokip Hangshing, Letpao Haokip, LM Khaute, Letzamang Haokip, Chinlunthang, Paolienlal Haokip, Nemcha Kipgen and Vungjagin Valte.
As elected representatives of our people, we mirror the sentiments of our people and endorse their political aspiration of separation from the state of Manipur. We have also decided to hold a political consultation with our people at the earliest regarding further steps to be taken by us, the statement said.
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Violent clashes had broken out in the north-eastern state after a Tribal Solidarity March was organised in the hill districts on May 3 to protest against the Meitei community’s demand for Scheduled Tribe (ST) status.
The clashes were preceded by tension over the eviction of Kuki villagers from reserve forest land, which had led to a series of smaller agitations and tension between the Meiteis and Kukis.
Meiteis account for about 53 per cent of Manipur’s population and live mostly in the Imphal Valley. Tribals – Nagas and Kukis – constitute another 40 per cent of the population and reside in the hill district.
(With agency inputs)