Imphal, June 12:
A day after the Union government formed a committee to negotiate peace in violence-torn Manipur, Kuki representatives announced on Sunday that they will boycott the panel because it includes Chief Minister N Biren Singh, a report by The Hindu said.
The peace committee constituted on May 10, is led by Governor Anusuiya Uike and includes 51 members, including former civil servants, educationists, litterateurs, artists, social workers, representatives of various ethnic groups, and a few state ministers, including CM Biren Singh, MPs, MLAs, and leaders from various political parties.
Of the 51 members peace committee, 25 members are from the majority Meitei community, 11 from Kuki groups, 10 from Naga communities, three from Muslim groups, and two from Nepali communities and one from a Tamil Community.
One of the Kuki representatives stated on Sunday that he had not been asked before being added to the committee.
“This is an important question as without my consent, why and how did they add my name to the peace committee,” retired Indian Defence Accounts Service officer J. Lhungdim told The Indian Express.
“I have spoken with several Kuki representatives and they told me that their names were also added to the committee without talking to them and they are also not happy with this act,” he said.
He added, “I believe it’s not going to work this way and the central government should be part of this committee, instead of leaving everything on Chief Minister N Biren Singh.”
Kuki Inpi Manipur president Ajang Khongsai, who is also a member of the panel, told The Hindu that the committee includes the Coordinating Committee on Manipur Integrity, a civil society group, that “has declared war against the Kukis”.
“We want peace but at this crucial juncture, when violence persists, we cannot hold talks with the government,” Khongsai said.
The inclusion of the chief minister in the panel was also criticised by the Indigenous Tribal Leaders Forum.
“The creation of such a peace committee… by the central government must be made only after conditions of normalcy and security for Kuki-tribal villages have been secured for a certain period of time,” it said in a statement.
Nando Luwang, president of the All Manipur United Clubs Organisation, stated that he was unaware of his inclusion on the panel. “Will make a final decision on attending the meeting after discussing it with other members of the group,” he said.
L Adino Mao, the former president of the United Naga Council, the apex civil body of the Nagas in Manipur, said he learned of his appointment through social media.
He added that he had “not been consulted.”
Last month, while visiting Manipur, the Union Home Minister announced the formation of the peace committee. Amit Shah also stated that a panel will be formed to investigate the violence in the state.