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Manipur Tribal Body Announces 'Self-Rule' in 3 Districts, Cites 'Centre's Selective Justice'

'We do not care if the Centre doesn’t recognise us.'
Representative image of Manipur Police. Photo: X/@manipur_police

New Delhi: The Indigenous Tribal Leaders Forum (ITLF) of the Kuki-Zo community in Manipur have declared that in three districts, members of the community “will have self-rule.”

The Hindu has reported that ITLF general secretary Muan Tombing has said that Kuki-Zo people in Tengnoupal, Kangpokpi and Churachandpur districts will come under the ambit of self-rule and that the community has “no expectation from the Meitei Manipur government.”

“We do not care if the Centre doesn’t recognise us. The plan has been under discussion for the past one month,” he also said.

He, crucially, added that it was the Union government’s “selective justice” that led the body to announce self-rule.

A day ago, Indian Express had reported that the ITLF had given an ultimatum that it will set up a self government if its demands are not met in two weeks, “whether the central government recognises it or not.”

The northeastern state has been severely divided along ethnic lines ever since violence erupted on May 3. Hundreds have died, more are injured and tens of thousands have been displaced. The violence also led to Kuki-Zo MLAs and prominent citizens pressing for a separate territory for them. They had also said multiple times that the Meitei-majority government under Bharatiya Janata Party’s N. Biren Singh has lost their trust.

ITLF’s Muan Tombing said that the community will have a separate chief minister. Besides, those government officials from the Kuki-Zo community who were forced to leave Imphal and have not been able to return will be given charges, he said. Imphal has a Meitei majority.

Tombing also noted to Hindu that the Kuki-Zo people were referred to as “outsiders” by Union home minister Amit Shah in parliament in August.

The ITLF has held several rounds of negotiations with the officials of the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) since May 3, the paper further reported. However, those have proven to be inconclusive.

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