Manipur, Imphal, Mothers Protest, curfew
A series of violent clashes between the Meiteis and tribals resulted in the tragic loss of nearly 100 lives and left over 300 individuals injured I File photo: PTI

Kuki MLAs, civil society groups decide against dialogue with Manipur's Biren Singh govt

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.

According to a statement issued by them, they said all the delegates comprising 10 tribal MLAs, Indigenous Tribal Leaders’ Forum (ITLF), Kuki Inpi Manipur (KIM) Zomi Council, Hmar Inpui (HI) and other Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) from Manipur unanimously resolved to stand unitedly to face the present communal crisis in Manipur.

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.”

Further, the meeting decided to hold consultation on a wider scale at the earliest so as to arrive on a logistic common political agenda with other groups. This comes in the wake of  Maniour CM Biren Singh rejecting their demand for a separate administration for the Kuki tribal areas in the aftermath of the ethnic violence.

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.

The delegates also expressed their gratitude to the government of Mizoram, NGOs, churches in particular and the people of Mizoram in general for providing humanitarian assistance to the displaced people or those affected by the ethnic violence.

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.

Also read: SC asks Manipur government to outline security, rehabilitation steps

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.

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