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Can N. Biren Singh Protect Manipur?

by Rinku Khumukcham
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How serious is the Union government of India to the stand of the State government of Manipur, is a matter that the people of India need to see after Chief Minister N. Biren Singh sent strong words against all those demanding for balkanization of Manipur.
While celebrating the Kargil Vijay Diwas, here at Imphal, Chief Minister N. Biren Singh stated that the demand for separate administration from the state of Manipur will never be possible as long as a single drop of blood runs to his body. People saw anger in the eye of Chief Minister N. Biren Singh when he told this sending a direct message to the 10 defected MLAs and the armed Kuki militants demanding a separate administration by carving out a portion of land from Manipur. But one wanders on whether the central government authority including the Prime Minister of India will listen to the message or not.
Interestingly, on the same day (July 26) the government of India held a political dialogue with the representatives of the armed Kuki militants – the KNO and the UPF, which are warring against the Meitei people demanding separate administration from Manipur. What is significant is that no representatives from the Government of Manipur attended the meeting even as the tripartite SoO agreement was signed between the – State, Central, and the Kuki militant groups. And as reported in some media, the representatives of the Kuki Militants under SoO had stood firm to the demand for a separate administration from the Manipur government.
When the Tripartite SoO agreement was signed between the Centre, State, and the Kuki militant on August 28, 2008, the militants agreed to protect the integrity of Manipur. Then after the coming of the N. Biren Singh (BJP) government in the state political dialogue with the group was started with the SoO groups in 2017. Earlier, these armed Kuki groups under SoO were demanding a territorial council, which the people of the state had strongly rejected as such a territorial council would disturb the territorial integrity of Manipur in the near future. Then started the conflict and later the Kuki groups under SoO now demands a total separation from Manipur by carving out the Kuki-dominated areas from Manipur. As of today, no information is available on what the representatives of the government of India had directed to the Kuki armed groups during the talk, but the silence somewhat tells that the proposal by the Kuki armed groups during the talk is likely to be tabled for consideration. Again, maybe co-incident, heavily armed militants using sophisticated weapons attacked Security Forces at the Indo-Myanmar border town Moreh yesterday, hours before the political dialogue begins. Similar attacks were also witnessed at various places in the periphery between Bishnupur and Churachandpur districts. A 20 years old student died yesterday after he was injured by splinters of a bomb triggered by the Kuki militants. Whether it is a synchronized attack with the plan of the armed Kuki militants or not is a matter yet to be established, however, one thing is sure the armed Kuki groups under SoO are using all efforts to separate Manipur’s Churachandpur, Pherzawl, Kangpokpi and Tengoupal districts from the Government of Manipur.
Around 40,000 Central forces have been deployed in addition to the existing Central forces including the army in the aftermath of the Violence in Manipur and the government of Manipur was not in a position to control the conflict even after 83 days. Around 50000 people have been left homeless, over 150 lives lost, houses, offices, churches, and temples were burnt and vandalized and Chief Minister N. Biren Singh could not do anything to stop the conflict.
In view of the series of events that took place, it is skeptical to the people whether the Chief Minister’s strong words to those demanding separate administration will be respected by the central government or not as the authorities of the Government of India seem to be listening more to the defecto groups.

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Imphal Times is a daily English newspaper published in Imphal and is registered with Registrar of the Newspapers for India with Regd. No MANENG/2013/51092


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