Manipur CM rejects creation of 'separate administration' for Kuki areas
Imphal, May 15, 2023, IANS
Manipur Chief Minister N. Biren Singh on Monday rejected the demand raised by 10 tribal MLAs for a "separate administration", equivalent to separate state, comprising the Kuki tribal-dominated districts of Manipur.
"The territorial integrity of Manipur would be protected. The Central government is also strongly against any division of Manipur," he told the media here after returning from Delhi.
Ten tribal MLAs belonging to the Chin-Kuki-Mizo-Zomi groups indirectly demanded a "separate state" for the tribals on Friday in the wake of recent violent clashes between the non-tribal Meiteis and the tribals.
Of the 10 MLAs, five belong to the BJP, two each from Janata Dal-United and Kuki People's Alliance (KPA) and one an Independent.
Singh, who had gone to Delhi on Sunday to hold meeting with Union Home Minister Amit Shah and other central leaders, said that measures would be taken to ensure that the Kuki militants, who had signed a peace pact and Suspension of Operations (SoO), return to their designated camps and stay in these camps all the time.
The Centre and the Manipur government signed the tripartite agreement and SoO with the three militant outfits -- the Kuki National Army (KNA), Zomi Revolutionary Army (ZRA) and Kuki Revolutionary Army (KRA) -- on August 22, 2008.
Government officials accused the Kuki militants of inciting Kuki tribals encroachers against the government, which has been evicting the tribals from the forest land and destroying poppy cultivation and these actions said to be a precursor to the ethnic violence from May 3.
The Chief Minister also appealed to people not to hold demonstrations or rallies in view of the prevailing situation of the state.
He said that the priority of his government is to restore peace, harmony and normalcy in the state. He also directed the Deputy Commissioners and Superintendent of Police of various districts to ensure that the properties of those who fled their homes due to the ethnic violence are protected and not looted by the miscreants.
Minister for Power, Forest and Agriculture Biswajit Singh, who is the second important minister after Chief Minister, state BJP President Adhikarimayum Sharda Devi, few other ministers and MLAs were also accompanied the Chief Minister during his Sunday's Delhi visit.
At least 73 people were killed, 231 injured and 1,800 houses, including religious places, burnt due to the ethnic violence, clashes, rampant arsoning, indiscriminate vandalisation, random destruction of government and private properties broke out in Manipur after a 'Tribal Solidarity March' organised in the 10 hill districts on May 3 to protest against the Meitei community's demand for Scheduled Tribe (ST) status.
Sporadic incidents of violence are taking place in different districts almost everyday. The violence was preceded by tension over the eviction of Kuki villagers from reserve forest land, which had led to a series of agitations in the local levels.
Manipur government's security advisor Kuldiep Singh said that more than 26,300 violence hit people are taking shelter in 178 relief camps set up in different districts and mostly along the army and security forces' installations.
Public curfew was relaxed for a few hours in many districts of the state. During the relaxation period, markets and oil pumps opened and people bought essential items.