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regular-article-logo Friday, 19 July 2024

Manipur tribal MLAs, civil society groups to hold meeting in Aizawl today

The meet up is being held to discuss the prevailing situation in the northeastern state, which was recently rocked by ethnic violence: ITLF

PTI Aizwal Published 17.05.23, 10:52 AM
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At least nine tribal MLAs and various civil society groups from the hill areas of Manipur will hold a meeting in Aizawl on Wednesday to discuss the prevailing situation in the northeastern state, which was recently rocked by ethnic violence, a leader of the Indigenous Tribal Leaders' Forum (ITLF) said.

The ITLF, comprising various civil society organisations of the Chin-Kuki-Mizo-Zomi-Hmar group in Manipur, was recently formed during an eviction drive that preceded the strife.

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"The tribal legislators from Manipur and ITLF leaders will hold a consultative meeting on Wednesday evening to review the situation in the state and discuss the political agenda and future course of action," the ITLF leader told PTI.

He said the discussion in the meeting is expected to be centred around security issues, the demand for a separate administration for tribals of Manipur and relief measures.

"We are holding the meeting in Aizawl as we feel safer here than in Manipur at present. Our future meetings will also be held in Mizoram," he said.

Kukis share ethnic ties with Mizos.

Ten Kuki MLAs, including seven from the BJP, had on May 12 urged the Centre to create a separate administration for the Chin-Kuki-Mizo-Zomi-Hmar community in the wake of the violent clashes between the majority Meiteis and the tribals.

Manipur Chief Minister N Biren Singh, however, had rejected the demand, while asserting that "the territorial integrity of Manipur will be protected at all costs".

Meanwhile, violence-affected people from Manipur continued to trickle into Mizoram as more than 1,000 have entered the state in the last couple of days, taking the total number of displaced people taking shelter in the state to 6,932, an official said.

He said 2,401 people of Zo or Mizo ethnic tribe have taken shelter in Saitual district bordering Manipur, while Aizawl is hosting 2,259 internally displaced people, followed by 2,099 in Kolasib and a total of 173 in Champhai, Khawzawl and Serchhip districts.

The displaced people have been lodged at temporary relief camps and several others have taken shelter with their relatives, he said.

The Mizoram government is making massive efforts to provide shelter, food and other relief materials to the displaced people, he added.

Clashes broke out in Manipur after a 'Tribal Solidarity March' was organised in the hill districts on May 3 to protest against the Meitei community's demand for Scheduled Tribe (ST) status.

The violence was 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.

Some 10,000 army and para-military personnel had to be deployed to bring back normalcy in the northeastern state.

Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by The Telegraph Online staff and has been published from a syndicated feed.

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