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Manipur: Meitei groups demand non-extension of pact with Kuki insurgent groups, Kuki MLAs seek separate administration

At least 25 Kuki insurgent groups have been in suspension of operations agreement with the government since 2008
Last Updated : 17 May 2023, 16:32 IST
Last Updated : 17 May 2023, 16:32 IST
Last Updated : 17 May 2023, 16:32 IST
Last Updated : 17 May 2023, 16:32 IST

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Several local groups representing the majority Meitei community continued their demonstration in Imphal, the capital of Manipur, on Wednesday demanding non-extension of the Suspension of Operation agreements with the Kuki insurgent groups.

At least 10 Kuki MLAs, on the other hand, moved Union Home Minister Amit Shah seeking an "administrative separation" for the areas inhabited by the Kuki-Chin-Mizo-Zomi-Hmar community in Manipur.

The Meitei groups, who staged the demonstration at Imphal, included the Co-ordination Committee for Manipur Integrity and Meira Paibi, a women-led pressure group. They stated that the suspension of the operation agreement should not be extended alleging that Kuki insurgent groups were involved in the communal clash since May 3.

At least 25 Kuki insurgent groups have been in suspension of operations agreement with the government since 2008 and their cadres are lodged in "designated camps" as per the ground rules of the agreement. But the Manipur government said that cadres of the groups had moved out of their camps, and suspected their involvement in the riot. However, Manipur CM N Biren Singh on May 15 said that an inspection carried out by the Joint Monitoring Committee, comprising both the army and Manipur police, found that the weapons of the insurgent groups were intact in their camps. He further said that efforts were on to bring the cadres back to their camps.

Weapons snatched:

But security personnel suspected that cadres of the Kuki insurgent groups were involved in the incidents where weapons were snatched from security forces during the riot. More than 1,000 weapons were snatched and nearly half of them have still remained traceless.

The clashes between members of the Meitei and Kuki communities since May 3 left 73 people dead and over 35,000 others displaced, in both the Kuki-dominated hills and the Meitei-dominated Imphal Valley districts. Nearly 2,000 houses were burnt down during the riot. The violence started on May 3 in the Kuki-dominated Churachandpur district following a protest march opposing a move to fulfil the demand for ST status to the Meiteis.

The restriction on the use of mobile and broadband internet is still in force and was extended on Tuesday for another five days. Army and paramilitary forces are still deployed and are trying to send the displaced people back to their homes.

But the 10 Kuki MLAs, including seven belonging to the ruling BJP, in a letter to Amit Shah said that Manipur is now "partitioned" due to the violence. "Huge population transfers between the valley and the hills inhibited by the Kuki-Chin-Mizo-Zomi-Hmar have taken place. There are no tribals left in the Imphal valley, there are no Meiteis now in the hills," they said urging the Home Minister to consider "an appropriate mechanism for the administrative separation of the two communities."

The 10 MLAs, including two ministers in Biren Singh's cabinet, recently issued a joint statement seeking a "separate administration" for the Kuki-Chin-Zomi-Hmar inhabited areas. But Biren Singh rejected such a possibility after his meeting with Shah in New Delhi on May 14.

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Published 17 May 2023, 16:32 IST

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