TODAY -

Trying to stay relevant
- The People's Chronicle Editorial :: January 31, 2024 -



The ten legislators of the Manipur Legislative Assembly belonging to the Kuki-Chin community, who are at the centre of a political storm that has been blowing in the tiny state since an unprecedented ethnic conflict broke out on May 3 last year, has once again submitted a memorandum to the Prime Minister of India reiterating their demand for a separate administration for the Kuki-Chin people in Manipur.

The 10 Kuki-Chin MLAs, which include two cabinet ministers in the N Biren Singh-led Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) government, first raised the demand for "a separate administration" or "separation from the state" within days of outbreak of the ethnic conflict after the Kuki-Chin people clashed with the Meitei/Meetei few days after a court directive to the state government for sending the requisite recommendation to the government of India for recognition of Meitei/Meetei as scheduled tribe (ST) under the Constitution of India.

At that time, the 10 Kuki-Chin MLAs, seven of whom belong to the ruling party BJP and are yet to put in their resignation papers despite expressing lack of confidence in the BJP-led government in the state, had alleged "unabated violence that began on May 3, 2023 perpetrated by majority Meeteis tacitly supported by existing Government of Manipur against the Chin-Kuki-Mizo-Zomi hill tribals has already partitioned the state and effected a total separation" from Manipur.

They had also gone on record saying that "As the state of Manipur has miserably failed to protect us, we seek of the Union of India a separate administration under the under the Constitution of India..." and "as elected representatives of our people, we today represent the sentiments of our people and endorse their political aspiration of separation from the state of Manipur," while adding that they would hold consultations with the people on the next course of action.

However, as there has been no positive response to their demand from the side of the government, both at the centre as well as in the state nor the BJP, which is in power both at the centre and in the state, has said or done anything despite warranting initiation of some disciplinary actions at least against its own MLAs and Ministers, the political status of the ten "truant" Kuki-Chin legislators has remained ambiguous.

Like the persona non grata, they have been neither inside nor outside the house. Apart from coming up with some joint statement every now and then over one issue or another, no one really knows what these 10 Kuki-Chin legislators have been doing over the last several months.

How far they have been able to advance the cause of their supposedly "persecuted" people since they raised the demand for a separate administration within days of outbreak of the now nearly nine months long ethnic conflict?

What has happened to the three-page memorandum despatched to Union Home Minister requesting "administrative separation" between the tribal Kukis and the majority Meeteis as "Our people have lost faith in the Manipur government and can no longer imagine resettling in the Valley where their lives are no longer safe," or the memorandum they submitted to the Prime Minister in August last year urging for creation of posts similar or equivalent to the Chief Secretary and Director General of Police (DCP) for efficient administration in the hill districts where Kuki-Chin people are in majority?

It should not be so difficult for anyone to find answer to these questions as there is none.

So, the latest memorandum submitted to the Prime Minister reiterating their demand for a separate administration, which, incidentally, has come just two days after the January 27 declarations of ITLF, in which a sort of ultimatum has been served by stating that "they should resign if the need arise, is nothing but another desperate attempt of the 10 Kuki-Chin legislators to stay relevant when their presence or absence is making no difference to anyone on either side of the clash divide.



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