Imphal: Union Minister of State for External Affairs and Education Rajkumar Ranjan Singh told Prime Minister Narendra Modi that in complete dismay and frustration, Kuki leaders including their 10 MLAs have demanded a separate political administration (equivalent to a separate state) for the tribals.
Singh said the demand was made under tremendous pressure from various quarters including the militants.
Singh, who was elected to the Lok Sabha from Inner Manipur parliamentary constituency, in a letter to the Prime Minister, said that demanding a separate political administration (equivalent to a separate state) is a very dangerous proposition for a small state having 35 ethnic groups.
“Peaceful co-existence should be the norm, Naga-Kuki conflict or Meitei-Pangan (Muslim) clash and now Meitei-Kuki riot must be treated as aberrations. These should be curbed and controlled by a strong hand. No balkanization on ethnic lines should be encouraged at any cost,” the Union Minister said.
He said that since May 3, for a few days, there was complete chaos and trust vanished in thin air between the two communities — Meiteis and Kukis.
Noting that the Manipur situation must be dealt with a humane touch without any ethnic bias, Singh said: “Let us not allow anyone to do fishing in the troubled water. It is not about how many Kukis or Meiteis have died or how many Meitei houses or Kuki houses were torched. It is a very unfortunate humanitarian crisis caused by immature minds.”
According to the minister, in the recent ethnic violence in Manipur so far, 71 people have been killed, 300 people got injured, including police personnel, some grievously.
Of 16 districts of the state, 11 districts were affected and out of which 6 were badly impacted.
Over 25,000 people were displaced, nearly 1,700 houses were burnt, and more than 200 vehicles had been destroyed.
The Union Minister in his letter, accessed by IANS, said that violent mobs burn and destroy everything on their way.
“It was largely due to action-reaction syndrome. It was impossible for the local police to control the rioters until the Army and Para Military forces arrived and intervened. In fact, it was a clash between the two communities triggered by a peaceful rally that turned suddenly violent.”
Singh said that demanding Scheduled Tribe (ST) status by the Meitei community in a peaceful manner should not be a problem for others and again a peaceful protest by the tribal against this move should not be an issue, as these things are happening in other parts of the country.
“We are not to blame any community or ethnic group. We want to live in peace with all the ethnic groups or communities.”
Saying that the state government has announced some relief and compensation for victims and sufferers, Singh demanded financial compensation from the Central government.
He said that the houses, vehicles and properties burnt may be compensated with the Centre’s aid.
Demanding continuance of the deployment of Army and Paramilitary forces in Manipur until restoration of peace and complete normalcy, Singh said that the trust deficit is at its nadir.
“Peaceful co-existence is the only mantra for a tiny multi-ethnic society like ours. Bifurcation or trifurcation of the state on communal or ethnic lines should not be encouraged.”
“All issues and demands can be sorted out in an amicable manner. A peaceful solution is possible only when we sit together and discuss… here, Centre’s role as jury and arbiter will be appreciated,” Singh pointed out.
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