Manipur tribal

Imphal, Oct 23: Tribal bodies in Manipur took issue with the state’s Chief Minister, N. Biren Singh, accusing him of hypocrisy and divisive actions in the wake of recent violence. The Kuki Inpi Manipur (KIM), representing the Kuki tribes, and the Committee on Tribal Unity (CoTU) Sadar Hills Kangpokpi criticized Singh for allegedly ignoring the plight of innocent minorities and promoting a separatist agenda.

Janghaolun Haokip, the Information and Publicity Secretary of KIM, rebuked Singh’s recent statements, in which the Chief Minister suggested that the violence in Manipur was pre-planned as part of a separatist movement. Haokip instead pointed to the long-standing grievances of the Kuki-Zo people, citing their alleged persecution by the Meiteis-led Manipur state leadership, chauvinistic policies, discrimination, oppression, and alienation.

According to Haokip, the violence that erupted on May 3 was, in fact, pre-planned by radical Meitei groups such as Arambai Tenggol and Meetei Leepun, in collaboration with the Manipur State Government. The immediate trigger for the conflict was the killing of Pastor Sehkhohao Kipgen at Kangvai, allegedly at the hands of Meitei radicals.

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Haokip clarified that the peaceful rally organized on May 3 was conducted by the All Tribal Students’ Forum Manipur (ATSUM), discrediting Singh’s claims of it being a separatist event.

Singh’s allegations that the conflict is part of a “Separate Nation” movement were met with strong opposition. Haokip emphasized that the demand for a “Separate Administration” within Manipur, in line with constitutional provisions, is not the same as seeking a “Separate Nation.” He argued that it is a misinterpretation that defies the sanctity of the Indian Constitution.

Haokip also accused Meitei terrorist groups and radicals of engaging in anti-national activities, including attacks on Indian security forces, boycotting Independence Day and Republic Day, and promoting an independent Meitei Kingdom (Kangleipak).

In contrast to Singh’s allegations that Mizoram’s Chief Minister, Zoramthanga, was exploiting the Manipur conflict for political gain, Haokip expressed gratitude for the humanitarian aid provided by people across the country during a time of crisis for the Kuki-Zo community.

The Committee on Tribal Unity (CoTU) Sadar Hills Kangpokpi echoed KIM’s sentiments, criticizing Singh’s inconsistent statements regarding the violence. CoTU Media Cell’s Coordinator, NG. Lun Kipgen, highlighted Singh’s evolving explanations for the conflict, which shifted from attributing it to a misunderstanding between communities to security and intelligence failures.

The tribal bodies also questioned Singh’s handling of the Manipur People’s Bill 2015, which resulted in significant unrest, leading to several casualties, including a minor. CoTU argued that Singh’s inconsistent narrative and alleged “Aiyaari” (deception) warranted scrutiny, as innocent minorities continued to suffer amid the ongoing conflict.