10 tribal MLAs to boycott upcoming Manipur Assembly session

Spokesman of the Indigenous Tribal Leaders' Forum (ITLF), Ginza Vualzong said that tribal ministers, MLAs, as well as the general public, are visiting the Meitei-dominated state capital of Imphal

Reoresentative image (Photo: IANS)
Reoresentative image (Photo: IANS)


Due to security reasons, 10 tribal MLAs, who have been demanding separate administrations for tribals in Manipur, will boycott the state Assembly session scheduled to begin from August 21.

Spokesman of the Indigenous Tribal Leaders' Forum (ITLF), Ginza Vualzong said that tribal ministers, MLAs, as well as the general public, are visiting the Meitei-dominated state capital of Imphal.

“None of the Ministers, MLAs and leaders belonging to the Kuki, Zomi and other tribal communities are willing to visit Imphal due to the security reasons. Hence they will boycott the session,” Vualzong told IANS over the phone.

The crucial upcoming session, called after the demands of various quarters, including the opposition Congress, is likely to discuss the ethnic violence which broke out on May 3 and has so far killed over 360 people, injured more than 600 others, and destroyed a massive number of properties, including thousands of houses.

The ITLF, one of the leading and influential tribal body Manipur, boycotting of the Assembly session is also in solidarity to the killings and attacks on the tribals.

Since May 12, the 10 MLAs, including seven from the state's ruling BJP, have been demanding a separate administration for the tribals.

Union Home Minister Amit Shah, Chief Minister N. Biren Singh, BJP, Meitei body Coordinating Committee on Manipur Integrity (COCOMI), and many other organisations strongly opposed the separate administration demand.

The MLAs on Wednesday sent a memorandum to Prime Minister Narendra Modi demanding creation of the Posts of Chief Secretary and Director General of Police or equivalent posts for the five hill districts of Churachandpur, Kangpokpi, Chandel, Tengnoupal and Pherzaw.

They also demanded the sanction of Rs 500 crore from the PM's Relief Fund for proper rehabilitation of the Zomi-Kuki people.

The MLAs alleged that Imphal has become a valley of death and destruction for the Kuki-Zomi people, no one dares to go back to the city, where important offices, including the state secretariat and other important government offices and institutions are located.

“Even members of the state Assembly were not spared. MLA Vungzagin Valte and his driver were waylaid while he was returning from a meeting from the Chief Minister's Bungalow in May. His driver was beaten to death, and the MLA was tortured and beaten and left for dead. The MLA, however, was rescued by the Security Forces and was rushed to New Delhi, where he is slowly recovering, but left incapacitated both physically and mentally,” the memorandum said.

It said that the houses of two other cabinet ministers, Letpao Haokip and Nemcha Kipgen, were burnt to ashes during the riot.

The MLAs further claimed that even the IAS and IPS officers belonging to the Kuki- Zomi tribes have been unable to function and discharge their duties.

Meanwhile, 40 MLAs of the ruling Manipur coalition had also signed a joint letter to the Prime Minister demanded complete disarmament, withdrawal of the Suspension of Operation (SoO) agreement with surrendered militant groups, and withdrawal of the Assam Rifles from the state.

Strongly opposing the separate administration demand, they alleged that the Assam Rifles was biased and they have been sheltering militants, and also using excessive force in dealing with Meitei women protesters.

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Published: 17 Aug 2023, 2:18 PM