PM urged to uphold Manipur's integrity, introduce NRC
ITLF leaders to meet Shah, press for separate state demand

Source: Chronicle News Service

New Delhi/Imphal, August 07 2023: A day before the tribal leaders' meeting with Union Home Minister Amit Shah in New Delhi to press for their demand for creation of a separate state for Kuki tribes, the Coordinating Committee on Manipur Integrity (COCOMI), apex body of the Meitei community, on Monday urged Prime Minister Narendra Modi not to divide Manipur and to introduce the National Register of Citizens (NRC) .

The COCOMI submitted its memorandum to the Prime Minister's Office highlighting the resolutions adopted in the mass rally held on July 29 in Imphal.

The other demands of the COCOMI include an end to the present ethnic conflict, and eliminating foreign (illegal immigrants) and Chin-Kuki "narco-terrorism".

After submitting the memorandum in the PMO, COCOMI coordinator Jeetendra Ningomba, in a video message, claimed that the foreign elements, including some of the leaders of the Kuki-Zomi outfits with which Suspension of Operation pacts were signed, are directly involved in the Manipur conflict and they should either be eliminated or pushed out of the territory of India.

"To identify illegal immigrants, the NRC must be implemented in the state with 1951 as the base year.

This is to deprive illegal immigrants from being citizens though they may continue to stay as guests, if necessary, without indulging in destructive politics by creating concocted history and bombarding the media and seeking support from the left liberals to achieve what is known as a Kuki-Zomi nation (Zalengam) comprising areas from three countries," the memorandum said.

The COCOMI said that the conflict can only be inferred to be pre-planned as tension started building up from April 27 after an open gym to be inaugurated by the Manipur Chief Minister was vandalised.

The involvement of those in Mizoram can be seen by the press hand-outs of the Mizo Zirlai Pawl, Aizawl of April 30, regarding the eviction of unauthorised encroachers from reserved and protected forest.

Further the involvement of cadres of the Chin Defence Force (CDF) in the present conflict can't be denied and even the National Unity Government of Myanmar had appealed to all its units not to be involved in affairs of neighbouring countries, the COCOMI memorandum claimed.

It said that though cadres of CDF, who are drawn from among the Chins settled in Shan State and Sagaing Division of Myanmar have reportedly been trained by Kuki National Army in Manipur territory, "it seems that there are likely to be other powers' influence to create turmoil in the border state of Manipur.

As the present conflict involves national security, it is of utmost importance that this aspect is thoroughly probed and curtailed".

In fact, the root cause of the Naga-Kuki conflict of the 1990s was due to the claim of Kuki ancestral land by the immigrant Kuki after settling in Naga areas after seeking permission from the Naga village chiefs, the memorandum stated.

Meanwhile, a four-member delegation of the Indigenous Tribal Leaders' Forum (ITLF) would meet Amit Shah in New Delhi on Tuesday to press for its demands.

Senior ITLF leader and spokesman Ginza Vualzong said that the delegation "will press for early solutions to our demands as the Manipur situation due to the mis-governance of the Chief Minister N Biren Singh-led government has been deteriorating fast".

"Kuki tribes are victims due to the state government's anti-tribal governance," Vualzong, who is also a member of the ITLF delegation, told IANS over phone.

The ITLF leaders claimed that since they could not travel to Imphal from Churachandpur due to the Meiteis' threat, they had to go to Aizawl to board the New Delhi-bound flight.

The other demands of the ITLF include state police and commando forces should not be deployed in the hill areas of Manipur, inmates lodged in the jails in Imphal should be shifted to others states of the country and legalisation of a site for mass burial of tribals killed during the ethnic violence.

The volatile Manipur situation further escalated after the tribal organisation announced to conduct the mass burial in Churachandpur on August 3.The move was strongly opposed by the COCOMI and other Meitei organisations.

However, the mass burial was postponed after the Manipur High Court ordered to maintain a status-quo of the proposed burial site in Churachandpur.

In a letter to the ITLF and the COCOMI, Union Minister Nityanand Rai on August 3 appealed to maintain peace and communal harmony.

"The government of India is seized of the issue of last rites of mortal remains of those killed in ethnic violence in Manipur.

The government of India appeals to all concerned to maintain peace and communal harmony and assures that it will spare no efforts to resolve the issues amicably to the utmost satisfaction of all parties within a period of seven days," Rai said in the latter.

Since May 12, 10 tribal MLAs, including seven BJP legislators, ITLF and the influential Kuki Inpi Manipur (KIM) since May 12 have been demanding separate administration (equivalent to separate state) for the Kukis.

Shah, Biren Singh, the ruling BJP and various other organisations, including the COCOMI, have been strongly opposing the separate administration demand.

Amidst the prevailing situation, the Kuki People's Alliance (KPA) with two MLAs in the Manipur Assembly on Sunday withdrew its support from the BJP-led state government.

The leaders of the KPA as partners of the BJP-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA) had attended the NDA meeting held in Delhi on July 18 .

However, the withdrawal of support by the two KPA MLAs will not affect the BJP-led government in Manipur.

In the 60 member Assembly, the BJP on its own has 32 MLAs while the National People's Party (7 members), Janata Dal-United (6), Naga People's Front (5) and two Independents are supporting the saffron party-led government.

( with inputs from IANS) .

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