'We Want President's Rule in Manipur, CM Removed': Kuki Leaders List Demands

The Kukis have demanded the removal of Manipur Chief Minister over his "silence on the ethnic cleansing of Kukis".

4 min read
Hindi Female

"We have immediate demands and a long-term demand. Our main immediate demand is for President's rule to be imposed in Manipur," said Sam Ngaihte, a member of a Kuki-Zo civil society group, who was part of the delegation that met Union Home Minister Amit Shah in Manipur's Churachandpur district on 30 May, Tuesday.

Speaking to The Quint, he added, "The long-term demand is for a separate administration – be it in the form of a Union Territory as the Centre has done in Ladakh, or a separate state," said Ngaihte.

On the same day, after a meeting with Amit Shah with valley-based Meitei women leaders, Ksh Santi Devi, a representative of Imphal's Ema Market, told the media that the Union Home Minister clarified that "a separate administration for Manipur is not feasible," as he promoted an "inclusive approach to governance" in the state.

As part of his four-day visit to the violence-hit state, Amit Shah has been holding meetings with various stakeholders, including Cabinet ministers and civil society organisations. This is Shah's first visit to Manipur after clashes broke out between Kukis and Meiteis on 3 May, but soon after the fresh spate of voilence on 28 May.


What Are the Kukis Demanding?

Elaborating on why there is a demand for President's rule, Ngaihte alleged that there are repeated instances of villages being attacked by Manipur police commandos, along with Meitei extremist groups, such as Arambai Tenggol and Meitei Leepun.

"For the second time, these groups raided police stations, outposts, and took weapons from there. How is this allowed to happen again? It is like the state is throwing open the entire arsenal to these groups against whom we cannot defend ourselves," he said.

Ginza Vualzong of the Indigenous Tribal Leaders' Forum told The Quint that apart from the two main demands of President’s Rule in Manipur and the creation of a separate administration for tribals, the Kukis have at least 11 "immediate" demands.

"These range from reclaiming over 100 unidentified dead bodies to relief and rehabilitation for the thousands of displaced people to the protection of and security for our villages," Vualzong explained.

"We want to know how many people died in Imphal, and the names of those who died. We are not able to visit the morgues. There is no confirmation from the government on the number of deaths, those who are missing, and whether the relatives of those who have died have been informed," Ngaihte said.

"For tribals, it is customary to bury the body and then talk about peace. We don't talk about anything until and unless we bury our dead," he explained.

Further, one of the other demands is removal of Manipur Chief Minister N Biren Singh who the tribals accuse of staying silent on "the ethnic cleansing of the Kukis, especially in Imphal valley."

"There has been so much of violence in the state over the past month but the chief minister has not uttered a word against the ethnic cleansing of the Kukis. He has not even bothered to clarify that it is not religious violence (as some are making it out to be) and is rather an ethnic violence. In fact, he is yet to even condemn the incident involving the seniormost tribal MLA Vungzagin Valte being attacked near his residence after a meeting with him earlier this month. This has heightened our fears of being targeted."
Sam Ngaihte

Further, Biren Singh's purported labelling of Kukis as "terrorists", using sophisticated weapons, during a press briefing on Sunday, 28 May has irked the community. A day after his address, hundreds of tribals had staged a demonstration at Delhi's Jantar Mantar, demanding "fair intervention" by the Centre to end the tensions in Manipur.

"Under the Suspension of Operations (SOO) agreement, the Kuki miltant groups are put in camps, have given up their arms, and the Army has their list of names with them. They cannot step out of these camps. Once a week, the Army carries out an inspection in these camps. And now the chief minister has claimed that 40 'terrorists' have been shot dead in encounters – and they had sophisticated weapons like AK-47s with them. But how is that even possible when they have given up all arms?," Ngaihte alleged.

Ngaihte added that the other problem with the chief minister's narrative is that even the village defence guards, who are armed with licenced guns, are being labelled as "terrorists".


What Are the Meiteis Demanding?

The Meitei community has been outspoken about "safeguarding Manipur's unity and integrity."

On Tuesday, 30 May, at least 13 Manipuri athletes – led by weightlifting champion L Anita Chanu and boxer Sarita Devi – submitted a memorandum to Amit Shah during his visit to the Imphal Raj Bhavan, threatening to return their accolades and medals if peace wasn't restored in the state.

"Everyday Meiteis are being killed, their houses are being burnt down, children have lost their parents. The Centre has said that it has deployed about 40,000 forces in the state, but they are nowhere to be seen," boxer Sarita Dev told the media. "The forces cite the SOO as the reason behind not being able to take any action against the militants. It has been a month since Manipur is burning."

The Meitei community is also demanding the implementation of the National Register of Citizens (NRC), an exercise to identify "illegal immigrants" and deport them.

After Amit Shah's meeting with women vendor leaders in Imphal, Ksh Santi Devi told the media that "the state government has formed a committee to address the issue".

"The Union Home Minister assured that in Assam, Nagaland, and Manipur, retina and thumb impressions will be utilised for necessary action," she added.

Meanwhile, Amit Shah said on Thursday, 1 June, that a panel headed by a retired Chief Justice of India (CJI) will investigate the ethnic conflict in Manipur. He also announced that six cases related to the violence will be probed by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI).

“The probe will be conducted by CBI, under the guidance of the Centre. I assure everyone that the probe will be neutral and will go to the roots of the reasons behind the violence," he said while addressing a press conference.

(At The Quint, we are answerable only to our audience. Play an active role in shaping our journalism by becoming a member. Because the truth is worth it.)

Read Latest News and Breaking News at The Quint, browse for more from news and india

Topics:  Amit Shah   manipur   N Biren Singh 

Speaking truth to power requires allies like you.
Become a Member
3 months
12 months
12 months
Check Member Benefits
Read More