TODAY -

Naga, Kuki MLAs confer at Guwahati; ST for Meiteis demand not on main agenda
Intervention of Delhi to be sought collectively

Source: The Sangai Express

Imphal, February 23 2024: With the fifth session of the 12th State Legislative Assembly set to begin in less than a week on February 28, an informal meeting of members of the Hill Areas Committee was convened at Guwahati today and several agenda were discussed.

Reportedly, the meeting got disrupted for a moment after Saikot AC MLA Paolienlal Haokip walked out of the meeting claiming that there is no point in attending the meeting which can't take any decision.

Speaking to The Sangai Express, a credible source said that nine Kuki legislators viz Textile and Commerce Minister Nemcha Kipgen (Kangpokpi AC), Tribals Affairs and Hills Minister Letpao Haokip (Tengnoupal AC), Saitu AC MLA Haokholet Kipgen, Tipaimukh AC MLA Ngur-sanglur Sanate, Henglep AC MLA Letzamang Haokip, Churachandpur AC MLA LM Khaute, Saikot AC MLA Paolienlal Haokip, Singhat AC MLA Chinlun-thang and Saikul AC MLA Kimneo Haokip Hangshing and five Naga legislators viz Water Resources Minister Awangbow Newmai, HAC Chairman cum Nungba AC MLA Dinganglung Gang-mei, Phungyar AC MLA Leishiyo Keishing, Ukhrul AC MLA Ram Muivah and Mao AC MLA Losii Dikho took part in the meeting.

Thanlon AC MLA Vungzagin Valte is the only MLA from the Kuki-Zo side who didn't attend the meeting.

Though it cannot be confirmed what actually transpired during the meeting, a reliable source said that the Naga and Kuki Ministers and MLAs deliberated on working out a solution to Manipur violence and about the upcoming session of the State Assembly which will have five sittings.

It is said that there was a discussion on the popular demand to add Meiteis in the Scheduled Tribe (ST) list of the Constitution too, but what resolution was taken cannot be verified.

Speaking to The Sangai Express, one of the Naga MLAs said that Chief Minister N Biren Singh has knowledge of them (the Naga MLAs) attending the meeting.

He continued that they held discussion on ways to end the crisis besieging Manipur since May 3 last year and about the Assembly session which will begin on February 28 .

He said that the Kuki Ministers and MLAs poured out many of their grievances during the meeting.

Another source said that Kuki MLA Paolienlal Haokip got furious in the middle of a discussion and stormed out before the meeting ended by arguing that there is no point in attending the meeting which couldn't take any decision.

Another Naga MLA said that the meeting didn't discuss in detail the demand to grant ST status to Meitei other than on the deletion of a certain clause of the High Court of Manipur's judgment passed on March 27, 2023 .

He said that they (the Naga and Kuki MLAs) largely exchanged views on Manipur violence and resolved to continue the talks and if possible meet again in Imphal too.

The Naga and Kuki MLAs also agreed to seek an audience with Union Home Minister Amit Shah and seek serious intervention of the Centre to restore normalcy in Manipur as the violence has taken a heavy toll on both the hill and valley people, he said.

The meeting also agreed that there can't be a way forward in Manipur without the Centre, he added.

The 10 Kuki MLAs are unlikely to attend the Assembly session as in the previous session.


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