A Kuki-Zo body has sought disqualification of the MLAs and MPs who took an oath to protect Manipur’s territorial integrity, administered by the radical Meitei group Arambai Tenggol, at Imphal’s Kangla Fort on January 24.
The disqualification plea came in a memorandum to Union home minister Amit Shah from the Zo United, the coordinating committee of civil society organisations of the Kuki-Zo people in Manipur. These organisations include the Kuki Inpi Manipur, Zomi Council, ITLF, COTU and the HTC.
The memorandum, submitted on Wednesday, also sought a separate administration in the form of a Union Territory for the Kuki-Zo people and an immediate extension of the Armed Forces Special Powers Act across the Meitei-dominated valley districts of Manipur.
It underlined that ministers, MLAs and MPs “who have taken oath as per Constitution of India from the Governor… now have taken oath as administered by a communal militia group, the Arambai Tenggol”.
It flagged the “deteriorating political situation in Manipur” and said the Arambai Tenggol’s January 24 show of strength marked “an abject surrender of the government to illegally armed Meitei radical youths”, and “under the very nose of the Central Security Forces”.
The Zo United also questioned the Centre’s handling of the unrest that has, since May 3 last year, left at least 208 people dead and over 67,000 displaced.
“The surrender of a state to the hands of a radical militia after 75 years of India(n) independence is an absurd blunder that the Centre should not have tolerated,” the memorandum said.
“The abuses of majoritarian democracy and the functioning of its institutions by the Meiteis — legislators, armed actors, and civil society — that have spanned for many decades have driven the Kuki Zo peoples to quest after a Union Territory with a Legislature to secure their just political aspirations while upholding the unity and integrity of the nation.”
Meitei organisations want Manipur’s border with Myanmar fenced to check smuggling and terror attacks. The Centre on Tuesday decided to fence the entire 1,643km India-Myanmar border on grounds of internal security.
The Arambai Tenggol, a Meitei socio-cultural group, rose to prominence shortly before the unrest erupted nine months ago.
Police say the organisation “summoned” Meitei MLAs and MPs from the valley districts to a meeting to discuss the unrest and take a pledge to protect Manipur’s integrity. The lawmakers also endorsed six resolutions adopted by the group to safeguard Manipur.
Altogether 36 Meitei MLAs and two MPs attended the meeting, including 24 MLAs from the BJP and all 5 MLAs from the Opposition Congress.