The Privilege and Ethics Committee (PEC) of the 60-member Manipur Assembly has asked 10 MLAs to explain why they demanded a separate administration for a group of ethnic communities.
The 10 MLAs, including seven of the BJP, had raised the bifurcation demand soon after ethnic clashes broke out between the majority Meitei and the Kuki-Chin-Zomi people on May 3.
Issuing a show-cause notice to the MLAs, the committee set June 16 as the deadline for them to respond.
Sapam Nishikant Singh, chairman of the PEC, said members of the panel deliberated on two complaints by local residents – one against the 10 MLAs to the Assembly Speaker and the other against Kimneo Haokip Hangshing, the MLA representing the Saikul Assembly constituency.
“The committee issued show-cause notices to each of the 10 MLAs to explain why they raised the demand that can lead to the disintegration of Manipur. Proceedings against them would be taken up after the expiry of the June 16 deadline,” Mr. Singh told journalists after the meeting on Wednesday.
A report would accordingly be submitted to the Speaker, he said.
According to the complaint by one O. Joy, the demand of the 10 tribal MLAs was unethical and a breach of oath. Apart from the Manipur Assembly Speaker, he had submitted a complaint to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the Lok Sabha Speaker, Leader of the Opposition in the Lok Sabha, State Governor Anusuiya Uikey, and the State Opposition leader on May 24.
The 10 Kuki-Chin-Zomi MLAs represent half the Assembly seats in Manipur reserved for Scheduled Tribes. The other 10 are represented by Naga MLAs, who have been camping in New Delhi.
‘Youth cannot surrender arms’
An Imphal Valley-based civil society group has said Manipur’s youth were unwilling to surrender their arms in view of intensified attacks by Kuki “terrorists”.
In a memorandum to Home Minister Amit Shah on June 4, the Coordinating Committee on Manipur Integrity (COCOMI) listed a series of attacks by Kuki extremist groups on the Meitei people inhabiting the Imphal Valley and the surrounding foothills. COCOMI primarily represents the Meitei people.
The organisation lamented that Mr. Shah’s appeal for peace has had little or no impact on the ground. Normalcy is yet to be restored in the periphery of the Imphal Valley despite the Home Minister’s warning of stringent action against the Kuki extremist outfits violating the ground rules of the suspension of operations.
Some 25 extremist groups catering to the aspirations of the Kuki-Zomi group of tribes are under suspension of operations.
The COCOMI said that the “inaction” of the Assam Rifles and other security personnel has stoked anger among the people and eroded faith in the Centre. It appealed to Mr. Shah “for one last time” on behalf of the people of Manipur “to take up befitting action against the defiant Kuki terrorists” as an emergency.
Failure to rein in the Kuki extremists would force the people of Manipur, especially the Meitei community, to reorganise a “new wave of protest and action against those who are targeting innocent villagers”, the group said.
“It would be very important to remind you… the local youth are now not willing to surrender arms as the attacks by the Kuki terrorists are being intensified,” the COCOMI said, adding that the Kuki outfits have been showing “continuous aggression” towards Meitei villages since June 1.
Opinion | A critical juncture in Manipur
More than 4,000 firearms and 2 lakh ammunition were snatched from police set-ups across the Imphal Valley soon after violence broke out on May 3. Less than 20% of these have been returned, some after Mr. Shah’s visit to the State from May 29 to June 1.
More than 100 people have been killed and 35,000 displaced since violence in Manipur broke out on May 3.
Looted arms recovered
A total of 868 arms and 11,518 pieces of ammunition have been recovered since they were looted by miscreants from police set-ups after violence in Manipur broke out on May 3.
In a statement issued on June 7, Kuldiep Singh, the Security Advisor to the Manipur government said 57 arms, 318 pieces of ammunition, and five bombs were recovered by the Porompat police station in Imphal East and Sugnu police station in Kakching district during the last 24 hours.
While curfew has been relaxed for 12 hours in five Imphal Valley districts, the relaxation in the neighbouring hill districts varies from 8 to 10 hours. “There is no curfew in six other hill districts,” he said.
The statement also said the movement of essential items along National Highway 37 has been ensured with 244 empty vehicles having left Imphal for Jiribam (Assam-Manipur border) on Wednesday. A total of 212 loaded vehicles have left Noney and 212 loaded tankers and trucks left Jiribam for Imphal.
The National Eligibility cum Entrance Test (NEET) for entrance to MBBS/BDS courses for 2023-24 was conducted on June 6 across 22 centres in Imphal West and Imphal East districts. The examination was conducted in a peaceful manner and attendance was normal, Mr. Singh said.