Eight Kuki MLAs, and various civil society groups from Manipur have taken a decision not to engage in any dialogue with the N Biren Singh government, which is running the north-eastern state recently rocked by ethnic violence.
Several civil society entities belonging to Chin-Kuki-Mizo-Zomi-Hmar ethnic groups in Manipur and tribal MLAs, who belong to the BJP, held a meeting at Aijal club in Mizoram’s capital Aizawl on Wednesday (May 17) to discuss the tension in the neighbouring state.
The statement said, “The meeting resolved (the community would) stand unitedly to face the present crisis and not to engage in any dialogue or talk with the present Manipur government.”
In fact, a leader of a tribal group, who had participated in the discussion, told PTI that a separate administration in the form of a Union Territory for the Kuki-dominated districts or other political safeguards was widely deliberated during the meeting.
Demand for a separate administration
Ten Kuki MLAs, including seven from the BJP, had on May 12 urged the Centre to create a separate administration for the Chin-Kuki-Mizo-Zomi-Hmar community, in the wake of the violent clashes between the majority Meiteis and the tribals in Manipur.
However, Manipur Chief Minister N Biren Singh had rejected the demand, while asserting that the territorial integrity of the state will be protected at all costs.
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Meanwhile, violence-affected people from Manipur continued to trickle into Mizoram, taking the total number of displaced people seeking shelter in the state to 6,663, an official said on Wednesday.
Clashes broke out in Manipur 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 violence was preceded by tension over the eviction of Kuki villagers from reserve forest land, which had led to a series of smaller agitations.
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 districts. The ethnic clashes claimed over 70 lives and some 10,000 army and para-military personnel had to be deployed to bring back normalcy in the north-eastern state.