TODAY -

Time to take a final call
- The People's Chronicle Editorial :: February 15, 2024 -



THE long overdue meeting of Manipur Legislative Assembly's Privilege and Ethics Committee (PEC) was finally convened on Tuesday to discuss the lingering issue related to 10 Kuki-Chin legislators, who raised the demand for a separate administration for the Kuki-Chin people in Manipur.

The 10 Kuki-Chin legislators, seven of whom belong to the ruling party BJP and include two ministers in the N Biren Singh-led government; two from Kuki People's Alliance (KPA), which supported the government but later withdrew and one Independent, raised the demand within days of outbreak of an unprecedented ethnic conflict between the Meitei/ Meetei and Kuki-Chin communities on May 3 last year.

After issuing show-cause notices to each of the 10 Kuki-Chin legislators demanding an explanation as to why they raised the demand that can lead to disintegration of Manipur and giving June 16 as the deadline for them to respond, the Privilege and Ethics Committee (PEC) of Manipur Legislative Assembly did nothing much to the astonishment of people who have been enduring the impact of an ethnic conflict that is now increasingly being seen as engineered to achieve the ultimate goal of creating "Zale'ngam," a homeland for the Kuki-Chin people encompassing areas from India, Myanmar and Bangladesh.

At the time of issuing the show-cause notices to the 10 Kuki-Chin MLAs, Sapam Nishikant Singh, chairman of the PEC, had said that members of the panel deliberated on two complaints filed by "local residents", one lodged to the Assembly Speaker against the 10 MLAs and the other against Saikul A/C MLA Kimneo Haokip Hangshing.

However, as no new meeting of the PEC had been convened after this, no one really knew what had happened to the show-cause notices issued and whether the 10 Kuki-Chin legislators had given their response.

Compounding bafflement of people, the chairman of PEC, who was busy attending talk shows on national television channels to put across his thoughts on the crisis in Manipur in the initial days, also vanished inexplicably from any more public appearance.

But, as they say, better late than never; it is good that the Privilege and Ethics Committee (PEC) has once again set in motion the task of resolving an issue that is at the heart of an ethnic conflict raging for more than nine months and so far, claimed hundreds of precious human lives and rendered thousands of families homeless.

When the 10 Kuki-Chin legislators, namely, Nemcha Kipgen (BJP Kangpokpi), Letpao Haokip (BJP, Tengnoupal), Ngursanglur Sanate (BJP, Tipaimukh), Letzamang Haokip (BJP, Henglep), Paolienlal Haokip (BJP, Saikot), Vungjagin Valte (BJP, Thanlon), LM Khaute (BJP, Churachandpur), Kimneo Haokip Hangshing (KPA, Saikul), Chinlungthang (KPA, Singhat) and Haokholet Kipgen (Independent, Saitu), first came out with a joint statement urging the Government of India to carve out a "separate administration" under the Indian Constitution and let people from their community "live peacefully as neighbours with the state of Manipur," there were lots of misgivings in the mind of people.

Their first reaction was one of total disbelief. Everyone thought they might be under strong pressure from some quarters to do so.

But every subsequent press statement issued and memorandum submitted by them, whether it is for "seeking creation of posts similar or equivalent to the Chief Secretary and Director General of Police (DGP) for efficient administration in five districts of Manipur inhabited by Kuki-Chin people", raising objection to deployment of Manipur Police Commandos in the troubled border town of Moreh, etc., has indicated that they have all along been more than willing to be partners in crime of trying to disintegrate Manipur, which has been a home to people of different ethnic communities since time immemorial.

All these should be enough for the Privilege and Ethics Committee (PEC) to take a final call on settling the issue surrounding the 10 Kuki-Chin legislators, who have not only breached their oath of allegiance to the Constitution of India but also sown the seed of communal discord among the people living in a multi-ethnic society.



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