Kuki-Zo tribals write to Amit Shah, renew Union Territory demand in Manipur

The Kuki-Zo organisation said even after more than a year of killings, there was no improvement in the security situation.
Kuki-Zo protests.
Kuki-Zo protests.(File Photo | PTI)

GUWAHATI: With the situation in ethnic violence-hit Manipur not showing any signs of improvement and the state continuing to remain ethnically partitioned, the Indigenous Tribal Leaders’ Forum (ITLF) petitioned Union home minister Amit Shah on Monday urging him to expedite the political solution – a Union Territory with a legislature under Article 239(A) of the Constitution for the Kuki-Zo tribals.

The ITLF took out a massive rally in Churachandpur and later, submitted a memorandum to Shah through the district magistrate, citing eight reasons why the tribals needed a political solution vis-à-vis Union Territory.

The Kuki-Zo organisation said even after more than a year of killings and displacements, there was no improvement in the security situation with the citizens at risk of being killed every day.  

“To date, almost 200 tribals have been killed and more than 7,000 homes destroyed. In the recent flareup of violence in Jiribam, around 50 homes and shops belonging to tribals were burned down,” the memorandum to Shah read.

The ITLF alleged that supplies of all goods, including essential items, have been blocked from entering tribal areas for the past year. It added that while all development activities, including maintenance and repair of public infrastructure, had come to a grinding halt in tribal areas, the Meitei-majority valley areas kept enjoying state patronage.

Kuki-Zo protests.
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Further, the ITLF said as the tribals were unable to travel to the state capital Imphal, the state government was using this opportunity to conduct mass job recruitment, knowing fully well that tribals would not be able to avail themselves of the opportunity. 

“Many job opportunities have already been lost for tribal youths, showing that the state government is openly partisan,” the organisation wrote in the memorandum.

Tribal students have also been adversely affected, especially those in technical lines, as all major centers of learning and all head offices are located in Imphal, it said.

The ITLF said the Kuki-Zo tribals were under constant threat of being attacked by armed elements. “They have openly stated that their aim is to either kill all of us or drive us out of our lands,” the organisation said.

“…it is clear that if we return to the present state dispensation, we will be subjected to open hostility and discrimination. It is imperative that the hill districts have their own secretariat to manage all hill affairs until a political solution can be reached,” the memorandum further read.

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