Manipur CM rejects demand for separate administration for Kuki areas

Some 10,000 army and para-military personnel the had to be deployed to bring back normalcy in the northeastern state.

Imphal: Chief Minister N Biren Singh on Monday rejected demands made by 10 MLAs including 7 from his own party, for a separate administration for the Kuki-dominated districts of the northeastern state, stating, “the territorial integrity of Manipur will be protected”.

The chief minister, who had made an air-dash to Delhi on Sunday to confer with Union Home Minister Amit Shah, said measures are being taken to ensure that militants, who had signed a peace pact dubbed suspension of operations’, return to their designated camps.

Singh also appealed to people not to hold dharnas or rallies in view of the sensitive phase the state has been witnessing since race riots between the majority Meiteis and the Kukis earlier this month.

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He also said no force would be used to break the blockades imposed by some groups on highways in the state in the wake of the rioting, and instead “efforts would be made to reason with these demonstrators”.

The chief minister, who was speaking to reporters at a press conference here, said, “I assure the people that the territorial integrity of Manipur will be protected at all costs”.

“Measures are being undertaken with the supervision of Union Home Minister Amit Shah to make the SoO (Suspension of Operations) groups return to their camps and strengthen efforts to bring normalcy back to the state,” he added.

Singh said that he and his ministers, who had travelled to Delhi with him, had briefed Shah about the prevailing situation in the state and “conveyed to him the sentiments of the people of Manipur on the situation” as also intelligence “on the involvement of armed militants in the recent violence”.

Clashes broke out in Manipur after a ‘Tribal Solidarity March’ was organised in the hill districts on May 3 to protest against the Meitei community’s demand for Scheduled Tribe (ST) status.

The violence was preceded by tension over the eviction of Kuki villagers from reserve forest land, which had led to a series of smaller agitations.

Meiteis account for about 53 per cent of Manipur’s population and live mostly in the Imphal Valley. Tribals — Nagas and Kukis — constitute another 40 per cent of the population and reside in the hill districts.

Some 10,000 army and para-military personnel the had to be deployed to bring back normalcy in the northeastern state.

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