Manipur government to take legal action against ITLF for ‘self-rule’ ultimatum

On November 15, the Indigenous Tribal Leaders’ Forum threatened to form a self-government in three districts of Manipur

November 17, 2023 12:59 pm | Updated 01:20 pm IST - GUWAHATI

File photo of members of Indigenous Tribal Leaders’ Forum (ITLF) taking part in a protest rally.

File photo of members of Indigenous Tribal Leaders’ Forum (ITLF) taking part in a protest rally. | Photo Credit: PTI

The Manipur government has decided to take legal action against the Indigenous Tribal Leaders’ Forum (ITLF) for setting a deadline to establish ‘self-rule’ in three districts of the State dominated by the Kuki-Zo community.

The districts are Churachandpur, which the ITLF refers to as Lamka, Kangpokpi, and Tengnoupal.

On November 16 evening, the Manipur government issued a statement strongly condemning the ITLF’s ‘self-rule’ ultimatum. The threat was aimed at vitiating the atmosphere and disturbing the law-and-order situation in Manipur, it said.

“The ITLF’s statement has no legal or constitutional basis. It appears to be motivated. Appropriate legal action is being initiated against the organisation and the persons concerned,” it said.

In a statement on November 15, the ITLF said it would set up a “self-government” in the Kuki-Zo inhabited districts if the government did not fulfil its demand for a “separate administration” within two weeks.

“More than six months have passed since the ethnic strife started in Manipur but nothing has been done regarding our demand for a separate administration. If our demand is not heard within a couple of weeks, we will set up our self-government irrespective of whether the Centre recognises it or not,” ITLF general secretary Muan Tombing said in a video message.

Manipur spiralled into disorder after an ethnic conflict between the majority Meitei and the Kuki-Zo people broke out on May 3. A few days later, 10 Kuki-Zo MLAs, including seven of the ruling BJP, sought total separation of the areas inhabited by the tribal group from Manipur

Close to 200 people have been killed and more than 60,000 people displaced in the ethnic violence so far.

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