Manipur Faces Grave Crisis Again As Kuki MLAs Demand Separate State

Manipur Faces Grave Crisis Again As Kuki MLAs Demand Separate State

by Jaideep Mazumdar - Sunday, May 14, 2023 03:12 PM IST
Manipur Faces Grave Crisis Again As Kuki MLAs Demand Separate State Manipur ethnic violence
  • The demand for a separate state for the Kuki-Chin-Mizo-Zomi ethnic group will not be taken lying down by the Meites, who blame the Kukis for triggering the current round of ethnic violence in the state. 

Even as trouble-torn Manipur is slowly limping back to a semblance of normalcy, it has been plunged into another grave crisis with ten Kuki MLAs demanding a “separate administration” for Kukis. 

This move will deepen the divide between the majority Meiteis and the Kukis, and can trigger more clashes between the two communities. 

The ten MLAs, seven of them belonging to the BJP and two from the Kuki People’s Alliance (KPA) which is an ally of the BJP, issued a statement Friday demanding a ‘separate administration’ for Kukis. 

The statement issued by the 10 MLAs:

“The unabated violence that began on 3rd May, 2023 in Manipur perpetrated by majority Meiteis tacitly supported by the existing Government of Manipur against the Chin-Kuki-Mizo-Zomi hill tribes has already partitioned the state and affected a total separation from the state of Manipur.

“Our people can no longer exist under Manipur as the hatred against our tribal community reached such a height that MLAs, Ministers, pastors, police and civil officers, laymen, women and even children were not spared, not to mention the destruction of places of worship, homes and properties. To live amidst the Metei again is as good as death for our people.

“Therefore, as elected representatives of our people, we today represent the sentiments of our people and endorse their political aspiration of separation from the state of Manipur. We have also decided to hold a political consultation with out people at the earliest regarding further steps to be taken by us as a people.

“As the State of Manpur has miserably failed to protect us, we seek of the Union of India a SEPARATE ADMINISTRATION under the Constitution of India and live peacefully as neighbours with the state of Manipur”. 

The ten MLAs who signed this statement are Haokholet Kipgen (Independent), Ngursanglur Sanate (BJP), Kimneo Haokip Hangshing (KPA), Letpao Haokip (BJP), L.M.Khaute (BJP), Letzamang Haokip (BJP), Chinlunthang (KPA), Paolienlal Haokip (BJP), Nemcha Kipgen (BJP) and Vungzagin Valte (BJP).

Of these ten MLAs, two--Nemcha Kipgen and Letpao Haokip--are ministers in the N.Biren Singh government. One of the signatories--Vungzagin Valte--a former minister, was attacked by a mob while he was on his way to residence after attending a meeting at the chief minister’s office May 4. He was admitted to a government hospital in a critical condition. 

The Fallout Of This Demand

The demand for a separate state for the Chin-Kuki-Mizo-Zomi ethnic group will sharpen the ethnic divide in the state. 

The Meiteis, who form 53 per cent of Manipur’s population and are mostly Vaishnavites, are fiercely protective of the territorial integrity of the state. The Meiteis have rebelled, often very violently, against perceived attempts to divide the state. 

In June 2001, an extension of the ceasefire with the Naga insurgent group NSCN to the Naga-inhabited areas of Manipur triggered a violent backlash by Meiteis in which government buildings, including the state legislative Assembly building, was torched. 

The Meiteis have been alleging that the population of the Kuki-Chin-Mizo-Zomi ethnic group has increased exponentially over the years, thanks to largescale illegal immigration of people belonging to this ethnic group from the Chin and Sagaing provinces of Myanmar. 

The Kuki-Chin-Mizo-Zomi ethnic group is spread over the two provinces of Myanmar and the adjoining Indian states of Mizoram and Manipur. 

The roots of the current conflict between the Meiteis and the Kukis (including the affiliated ethnic sub-tribes) lie in this alleged immigration from Myanmar. 

The demand for a separate state for the Kuki-Chin-Mizo-Zomi ethnic group will not be taken lying down by the Meites, who blame the Kukis for triggering the current round of ethnic violence in the state. 

According to all credible reports, last week’s violence in Manipur that resulted in over 60 deaths and destruction of thousands of homes was triggered by attacks on Meitei families living in Kuki-majority Churachandpur on May 3 during protest rallies taken out by the Kukis. 

The Kukis were protesting the move to grant Scheduled Tribe (ST) status to Meiteis. They were opposing this since they felt that the Meiteis would not only eat into reservations and other benefits meant for STs, but would also displace them from their lands. 

The attacks on Meitei families in Churachandpur triggered retaliatory violence against Kukis in Imphal and other areas where Meiteis were in a majority. 

The Kukis then retaliated against Meiteis in other areas and the spiral of violence soon went out of control. The state police stood out for its complete failure to control the violence and prevent attacks on and destruction of houses and properties belonging to both the communities. 

Tens of thousands were displaced and violence stopped only after the Union Government assumed control of the law and order machinery in the state by invoking Article 355 of the Constitution. Army, Assam Rifles, CRPF and BSF soldiers staged flag marches, rescued people and brought the situation under control. 

While the flames have been doused and the embers have died down, the open wounds left by last week’s killings and mayhem are still festering painfully. A demand for a separate state for Kukis will only add fuel to the volatile situation in the state. 

Also read: Ground report: Manipur ethnic violence — what went wrong wnd why

Join our Telegram channel - no spam or links, only crisp analysis.
Get Swarajya in your inbox everyday. Subscribe here.

An Appeal...

Dear Reader,

As you are no doubt aware, Swarajya is a media product that is directly dependent on support from its readers in the form of subscriptions. We do not have the muscle and backing of a large media conglomerate nor are we playing for the large advertisement sweep-stake.

Our business model is you and your subscription. And in challenging times like these, we need your support now more than ever.

We deliver over 10 - 15 high quality articles with expert insights and views. From 7AM in the morning to 10PM late night we operate to ensure you, the reader, get to see what is just right.

Becoming a Patron or a subscriber for as little as Rs 1200/year is the best way you can support our efforts.

Become A Patron
Become A Subscriber
Comments ↓
Get Swarajya in your inbox everyday. Subscribe here.

Latest Articles

    Artboard 4Created with Sketch.