IMPHAL: The 10 Kuki MLAs of the Manipur Assembly have strongly refuted Chief Minister Biren Singh’s assertions of being in contact with them amid the ongoing sectarian conflict in the state.
In an official statement issued on Friday, undersigned by all the 10 Kuki MLAs, the legislators said, “It is hereby clarified by all the 10 Kuki-Zomi-Hmar MLAs that we have not been in touch with CM N Biren Singh since the outbreak of the communal violence in May 2023.”
The MLAs – Haokholet Kipgen, Ngursanglur Sanate, Chinlunthang, Kimneo Hoakio Hangshing, Letpao Hoakip, Paolenlal Hoakip, LM Khaote, Letzamang Hoakip, Nemcha Kipgen and Vungzagin Valte – asserted that the streets and roads of Imphal and its adjacent valley pose considerable risks for the Kuki-Zomi-Hmar community. “Even the identification of on-duty Paramilitary personnel remains subject to scrutiny by the self-styled Meir Paibis,” the memorandum read.
“Incidents of looting, attacks, and arson targeting our official quarters and private residences have become distressingly common. Given the current politically sensitive circumstances, we have no inclination to engage with CM N. Biren Singh,” the document stated.
Interestingly, the statement contradicted a news report published by a national daily with the headline, “No Division of Manipur, in touch with Kuki MLAs: CM N Biren Singh” on Thursday. In the said news report, the Chief Minister was quoted as saying that he has conveyed to the MLAs his commitment to ensuring their security and emphasised the need of collaborative efforts in reinstating peace.
The Chief Minister was also quoted saying that it is crucial for the 10 Kuki MLAs to swiftly resume their responsibilities and that the unity of Manipur is non-negotiable.
Earlier on May 13, 10 days after the unrest began in the state on May 3, all 10 Kuki MLAs in Manipur, including two state ministers, had raised the demand for a “separate administration” and “separation from the state”, alleging that the Chief Minister Singh-led government had “miserably failed to protect” the tribal group.
Addressing the demand for a separate administration, the 10 Kuki legislators, through the statement, admitted to have written to Prime Minister Narendra Modi demanding a separate chief secretary and police chief for the affected Hill districts on August 16.
“… Once again we strongly reiterate our legitimate demand for the creation of Separate Administration within the purview of the Indian Constitution in order to restore permanent peace and settlement,” the statement read.