According to a source, Kuki delegates declared on Sunday that they will boycott the panel since it includes Chief Minister N Biren Singh, a day after the Union government established a committee to negotiate peace in violently divided Manipur.
The peace committee, which was established on May 10, is headed by Governor Anusuiya Uike and has 51 members, including former civil servants, educators, authors, artists, social workers, and representatives of different ethnic groups. A few state ministers, including CM Biren Singh, MPs, MLAs, and leaders from different political parties also serve on the committee.
A report claims that 25 of the 51 people chosen to represent the various ethnic groups are from the Meitei community, followed by 11 Kuki groups, 10 Naga groups, three Muslim groups, and two Nepali groups.
On Sunday, one of the Kuki MPs claimed that he had not been consulted before joining the committee.
The former Indian Defence Accounts Service officer J Lhungdim said, “This is an important question as they added my name to the peace committee without my consent, why and how.”
“I spoke with a number of Kuki representatives, and they informed me that their names were also added to the committee without consulting them, and they are also not happy with this act,” he stated.
The central government should be a member of this committee, not Chief Minister N Biren Singh, he continued, since “I believe it won’t work this way.”
Ajang Khongsai, the president of Kuki Inpi Manipur and a member of the panel, stated to The Hindu that the Coordinating Committee on Manipur Integrity is a civil society organisation that “has declared war against the Kukis” and is a member of the committee.
Khongsai stated, “We want peace but at this crucial time, when violence continues, we cannot hold talks with the government.”
The Indigenous Tribal Leaders Forum also challenged the chief minister’s inclusion in the panel.
It stated in a statement that “the central government must make such a peace committee only after conditions of normalcy and security for Kuki-tribal villages have been secured for a certain period of time.”
More than 160 Kuki-Zo villages have currently been burned, and Meitei militants continue to attack them frequently, it continued.
The All Manipur United Clubs Organization’s Nando Luwang claimed that he was not aware of his inclusion on the panel. Will deliberate with other group members before deciding definitively whether or not to attend the meeting, he said.
Former United Naga Council president L Adino Mao claimed he found out about his appointment on social media. The United Naga Council is the highest civic body for the Nagas in Manipur.
He continued by saying that he had “not been consulted.”
Over 100 people have died, 300 have been injured, and hundreds have been displaced as a result of ethnic fighting between Meiteis and Kukis in Manipur since May 3. On the other hand, Kuldiep Singh, the security adviser for the state government, asserted on June 8 that no violence had occurred in the state in the previous 48 hours.
The Union Home Minister announced the creation of the peace committee last month while visiting Manipur. A panel will be established to look into the state’s violence, according to Amit Shah.