Ten Kuki lawmakers, including seven from the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), have written to Union home minister Amit Shah asking him to direct the state government against sending “partisan” police commandos to ethnic violence-hit Manipur’s Kuki majority hill districts.
“The state government is hell-bent on trying to inject troops of the state commando unit into the hill border town of Moreh against the wishes of our people who hold them in great fear for their partisan credentials,” the lawmakers said in their letter sent to Shah on Thursday, a copy of which HT has seen. “We, therefore, request your high office to intervene and stop the state government from trying to forcibly station state police commandos in the hill areas.’
Kuki groups have since last month been protesting against an alleged move to deploy additional state forces in Moreh near the Myanmar border in the Tengnoupal district.
The lawmakers expressed displeasure over the linking in Parliament of the ongoing clashes in Manipur to illegal migration from Myanmar. “We urge the central government to come up with actual figures of illegal immigration and refugee influx due to the political turmoil in Myanmar.” The legislators requested Shah to expedite a dialogue for the creation of a separate administration in areas where Kukis are in the majority for lasting peace.
The legislators on Wednesday submitted a memorandum to Prime Minister Narendra Modi seeking posts similar to the chief secretary and director general of police for “efficient administration” of five hill districts.
The lawmakers in their letter to Shah said they have agreed to his request during his visit to the state in May to remove blockades on National Highway (NH) 2 affecting the supply of goods to the Meitei-dominated Imphal Valley. Meitei groups have continued to block roads leading to the hill areas in Churachandpur, Chandel, and Tengnoupal districts, affecting the supply of essentials.
The lawmakers said they may no longer be in a position to persuade their people against any blockades they may impose in the future as they have felt let down due to the absence of any reciprocal gesture from the Meiteis. They added state government continues to “attack” their settlements.
Committee on Tribal Unity, a Kuki organisation in Kangpokpi, on August 16 threatened to block sections of NH2 and NH37 leading to Imphal if essential goods did not reach Kuki areas within three days. The group earlier lifted a blockade of highways on Shah’s request.
The ethnic violence between the dominant Metei and Kuki communities, which was triggered on May 3, has claimed around 160 lives and displaced over 50,000 people.