Hours after Manipur Chief Minister N. Biren Singh on Monday rejected the demand raised by 10 tribal MLAs for a "separate administration", equivalent to a separate state, comprising the Kuki tribal-dominated districts of Manipur, the 10 legislators in a letter to Union Home Minister Amit Shah reiterated their demand.
The 10 tribal MLAs, five of them are ruling BJP, in their letter to Shah said "that Manipur is now partitioned, is the ground reality".
"(After the May 3 ethnic violence), there are no tribals left in the Imphal valley. There are no (non-tribals) people belonging to the Meitei community left in the hills. The government of Manipur and its police machinery were communalised and used in the pogrom against the Kuki tribals," the signed 3-page letter noted.
Earlier on Monday, the Chief Minister rejecting the separate state demand, said: "The territorial integrity of Manipur would be protected. The Central government is also strongly against any division of Manipur."
Singh, who had gone to Delhi on Sunday to apprise the state's overall situation to Union Home Minister and other central leaders, told the media in Imphal after returning from Delhi that measures would be taken to ensure that the Kuki militants, who had signed a peace pact and Suspension of Operations (SoO), return to their designated camps and stay in these camps all the time.
Ten tribal MLAs belonging to the Chin-Kuki-Mizo-Zomi groups indirectly demanded a "separate state" for the tribals on Friday in the wake of recent violent clashes between the non-tribal Meiteis and the tribals.Of the 10 MLAs, five belong to the BJP, two each from Janata Dal-United and Kuki People's Alliance (KPA) and one an Independent.
The JD-U, KPA and the Independent MLAs are part of the BJP-led government.
The MLAs' letter, which is available with IANS, to the Union Home Minister said that "the recent institutionalised ethnic cleansing and atrocities committed by the majority Meitei community against the ethnic Kuki-Chin-Mizo-Zomi-Hmar minority community has left everyone aghast".
"Huge population transfers between the valley and the hills inhabited by the Kuki-Chin-Mizo- Zomi-Hmar had occurred. Kuki colonies and houses were marked and attacked with precision in Imphal city."
"The spark was ignited in the afternoon of May 3 when Meitei miscreants set fire to the Anglo-Kuki war memorial gate at Leisang in Churachandpur district."
The letter claimed that as it was premeditated, all Kuki Police officers from the Director General of Police, Additional Director General of Police, Joint DGP down to the constables were stripped of all powers, disarmed and rendered inactive much prior to May 3, while Meitei police were let loose upon Kuki residents of the city as well as of the foothill villages on the same day and thereafter, the letter said.
As a result of the backlash in the hill areas, all Meitei police staff have abandoned their posts in all the hill stations, it said.
The 10 MLAs in their letter said that their people have lost faith in the Manipur government and can no longer imagine resettling in the valley where their lives are no longer safe.
"The Meiteis hate us and do not respect us. The need now is a formalisation of the separation through the setting up of a separation of administration for the hills inhabited by our people. We cannot live together anymore. The only logical way forward is to live separately and with time perhaps some semblance of peace and mutual regard and respect for each other on equal terms may return," the letter stated.
Soon after the widespread violence started in Manipur on May 3, the Central government imposed Article 355 in the state to bring the situation under control. Article 355 is part of the emergency provisions contained in the Constitution that empowers the Centre to take all necessary steps to protect a state against internal disturbances or external aggression.
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