Home Ministry rushes team to Manipur; MLAs call for ‘positive action’ from Centre

The Home Ministry team, which includes Intelligence Bureau (IB) officials, met Chief Minister N. Biren Singh. It will meet various civil society groups from the tribal Kuki-Zo community and the Meitei community.

Updated - January 25, 2024 07:25 pm IST

Published - January 22, 2024 09:54 pm IST - New Delhi

A banner stating ‘Meitei products are banned’ put up in a Kuki-dominated area, en route to Kohima (Nagaland) from Imphal. File

A banner stating ‘Meitei products are banned’ put up in a Kuki-dominated area, en route to Kohima (Nagaland) from Imphal. File | Photo Credit: PTI

The Union Home Ministry on January 22 rushed a team of officials led by A.K. Mishra, adviser (Northeast), to Manipur following the fresh spate of killings and violence in the State.

Meanwhile, 35 MLAs in Manipur passed a resolution that they will take appropriate action in consultation with the public if the “Government of India is unable to take any positive action” as per their demands. 

Also Read | Amid recent flare-up, Manipur body calls for national focus on ‘Kuki extremists’

The Home Ministry team, which includes Intelligence Bureau (IB) officials, met Chief Minister N. Biren Singh. It will meet various civil society groups from the tribal Kuki-Zo community and the Meitei community.

The officials are also expected to meet representatives of the Arambai Tenggol, a radical armed Meitei group that has been accused by the Kuki-Zo groups of instigating violence. A Ministry official said the team was sent after assessing the ground situation.

The team will also meet Kuki-Zo groups and are expected to broker an amicable solution between the two communities.

The Chief Minister had skipped the North Eastern Council (NEC) meeting chaired by Union Home Minister Amit Shah in Shillong on January 19. On Sunday, he questioned the efficacy of the Central security forces in curtailing violence in the border town of Moreh, a Kuki-Zo-dominated area.

Speaking on the occasion of Manipur Statehood Day, Mr. Singh said, “The killers of Chingtham Anand, the SDPO [Sub-Divisional Police Officer] of Moreh, have been arrested. But if the Central forces fail to protect the lives and properties of the people of Manipur, they should go back.”

Also Read | Manipur CM Biren Singh to seek meeting with PM

In the past one week, at least six people, including two police personnel, have been killed.

The team, led by Mr. Mishra, is also negotiating with the Kuki insurgent groups that are part of the Suspension of Operations (SoO) pact and have been demanding a separate administration for the Kuki-Zo inhabited areas in the hill districts of Manipur.

Meitei groups have demanded the revocation of the pact.

The MLAs passed a resolution that the “SoO agreements with the armed militant groups, and the immunity it provides to these groups from a firm reaction from Central forces, is the main cause of the never-ending cycle of violence”.

Also Read | Kukis | Fight for land and identity

It added that the So0 agreement with other militant groups who also indulge in anti-state activities should not be extended beyond February 29, when the agreement comes to an end.

It added that in many sensitive areas, the Assam Rifles was not responsive and remained mute spectators when unarmed civilians (particularly farmers) were being indiscriminately fired upon. “The claim that their deployment is providing security to the communities residing in these areas has been questioned. These forces and their leadership (chain of command) need to give strict instructions and be held accountable and replaced with forces that have the ability to act by returning suppressive fire when they observe that unarmed civilians are being fired upon, to enable civilians to get to cover and safety.”

The resolution added that the public’s faith and trust in the forces currently deployed at places such as Moreh, Bishnupur, Imphal West, and Kakching had been shattered.

This article was corrected post publication. The article had previously mentioned ‘Meitei MLAs’. It has been changed to ‘MLAs’.
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