In the wake of Kuki MLAs from Manipur addressing Prime Minister Narendra Modi with a request for a separate chief secretary and DGP for the Kuki-dominated hill areas of the state, Chief Minister N Biren Singh emphasized the significance of free expression in a democracy. The Chief Minister's statement comes days after ten Kuki MLAs, including seven from the BJP, submitted a memorandum to the Prime Minister, highlighting the need for enhanced administrative measures in the aftermath of ethnic violence that lasted three months.
The memorandum, presented on August 16 focused on establishing "posts equivalent to chief secretary and DGP" in five hill districts of Manipur: Churachandpur, Kangpokpi, Chandel, Tengnoupal, and Pherzawl. The objective behind this proposal is to ensure efficient administration, particularly considering the challenges posed by the recent ethnic conflicts.
"In a democracy, everyone is entitled to speak freely," Chief Minister N Biren Singh addressed reporters after an event commemorating Sadbhavna Diwas. Despite the presence of multiple MLAs at the event, no discussions on the issue took place with the media.
The Kuki MLAs elaborated on their memorandum, highlighting concerns about the effectiveness of IAS, MCS, IPS, and MPS officers belonging to the Kuki-Zo tribes in performing their duties. They also urged for Rs 500 crore from the Prime Minister's relief fund to aid the rehabilitation of community members who suffered due to the ethnic strife.
Previously, the ten MLAs had urged PM Modi to establish a distinct administration for the tribal regions of Manipur. In his Independence Day speech, CM N Biren Singh acknowledged that misunderstandings, vested interests, and external agendas have led to loss of lives and property in the state. He appealed for a cessation of violence and a return to the state's previous trajectory of rapid development.
The ethnic clashes that erupted on May 3 were triggered by a 'Tribal Solidarity March' in response to the Meitei community's request for Scheduled Tribe (ST) status. The Meitei population constitutes approximately 53% of Manipur's populace and primarily resides in the Imphal Valley. On the other hand, the Nagas and Kukis, categorized as tribals, account for slightly over 40% and predominantly inhabit the hill districts.
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