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Manipur Tribal MLAs Refute Chief Minister Biren Singh's Claims, Say Not In Touch With Him

Denying Manipur Chief Minister N Biren Singh's claims, ten tribal MLAs of the state on Friday asserted that they are not in touch with Chief Minister, and said they do not intend to communicate with him “at this politically critical juncture”.

Manipur CM Biren Singh
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Denying Manipur Chief Minister N Biren Singh's claim, ten tribal MLAs of the state on Friday asserted that they are not in touch with Chief Minister, and said they do not intend to communicate with him “at this politically critical juncture”. In a ‘joint press clarification’, the 10 Kuki legislators alleged that the chief minister’s claim might be a ploy to sow seeds of mistrust between them and the Kuki-Zo community people. The clarification came after the chief minister was quoted in media reports as having said that he is in touch with Kuki MLAs.

“It is hereby clarified by all the 10 Kuki-Zomi-Hmar MLAs that we have not been in touch with CM N Biren Singh since the outbreak of the communal violence (in Manipur) in May 2023,” the legislators said.

The clarification read, "At this politically critical juncture, we do not have any intention to communicate with the CM N Biren Singh. His claim of communicating with Kuki-Zomi-Hmar MLAs may be a ploy to sow seeds of mistrust and disunity between the Kuki-Zomi-Hmar MLAs and their people.” The clarification was signed by all the 10 MLAs. Of them, seven belong to the ruling BJP, two are from the Kuki People's Alliance (KPA) and one is an Independent.

Claiming that the roads of Imphal and its surrounding valley are dangerous for the Kuki-Zomi-Hmar people, they alleged that their official quarters and private residences were either looted, attacked or burnt by mobs. The MLAs once again raised their demand for a separate administration for the community “within the purview of the Indian Constitution in order to restore permanent peace and settlement”.

More than 160 people lost their lives and several hundreds were injured since the ethnic clashes broke out in Manipur on May 3, after a ‘Tribal Solidarity March’ was organised in the hill districts to protest against the Meitei community’s demand for Scheduled Tribe (ST) status. Meiteis account for about 53 per cent of Manipur’s population and live mostly in the Imphal Valley. Tribals — Nagas and Kukis — constitute little over 40 per cent and reside in the hill districts.

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