Days after Manipur witnessed massive violence that claimed more than 60 lives, Manipur Chief Minister N Biren Singh, accompanied by four of his cabinet ministers and BJP state president Sarada Devi, met Union Home Minister Amit Shah on Sunday, state minister and government spokesperson Sapam Ranjan Singh told PTI.
The meeting was also attended by BJP national president J P Nadda. "The chief minister, four of his cabinet ministers and the BJP state unit chief met the union home minister," Sapam Ranjan Singh said. He did not disclose what transpired in the meeting but said the chief minister would hold a press conference on Monday morning in Imphal to brief journalists about his Delhi visit.
On Saturday night, fresh violence erupted in Manipur’s border areas of Bishnupur and Churachandpur districts. According to a report by Hindustan Times, Manipur security advisor Kuldiep Singh told reporters on Sunday that following the incident, two Border Security Forces (BSF) companies were deployed in the area, adding that three more companies of the BSF were dispatched to maintain law and order situation.
Demand for a separate administration
The chief minister's visit to Delhi followed the demand by 10 tribal MLAs belonging to the Chin-Kuki-Mizo-Zomi group in Manipur for a separate administration for their region in the wake of recent violent clashes between the Meiteis and tribals.
The MLAs from across parties, including from the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), issued a statement on Friday to seek a constitutional solution to the demand. They accused the Chief Minister N Biren Singh-led Government of Manipur of providiing "tacit support" to the violence in the state.
"The unabated violence that began on 3rd May, 2023 in Manipur perpetrated by majority meiteis tacitly supported by existing Government of Manipur against the Chin-Kuki-Mizo-Zomi hill tribals has already partitioned the state and effected a total separation from the State of Manipur," say the MLAs in a statement, according to a copy available online.
Sources said the chief minister and other members of the delegation were called to Delhi for the meeting. The state ministers who were present in the meeting included Th Biswajit and Govindas Konthoujam and they came to Delhi in a special aircraft, sources said.
Violent clashes broke out in the north-eastern state after a 'Tribal Solidarity March' was organised in the 10 hill districts on May 3 to protest against the Meitei community's demand for Scheduled Tribe (ST) status. The clashes were 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. The chief minister had on Monday said that 60 people were killed, 231 injured and 1,700 houses, including religious places, burnt in the ethnic violence that rocked the northeastern state.
(With inputs from PTI)