Manipur MLAs in Delhi to pursue peace moves with central leaders, Congress questions efforts

IANS Photo

IANS Photo

Imphal, September 16 (IANS): With over 18 MLAs of Manipur, including two ministers, in Delhi to pursue moves to restore peace and normalcy in the northeastern state with Central leaders, the opposition Congress on Friday said that Chief Minister N. Biren Singh must accompany the legislators to make the mission a success.

The 18 MLAs, including ministers Y. Khemchand and Bishwajit Singh have been camping in Delhi for the past three days in a bid to persuade Central leaders to take immediate steps to end the over four-month-long ethnic violence in Manipur and restore normalcy.

Manipur state Congress President Keisham Meghachandra Singh said that it seems that efforts made by BJP MLAs in Delhi are useless as their top leaders are not taking part in the team. "It's just like old wine in a new bottle," he quipped.

The MLAs' efforts would not be successful as the ruling party is not serious about bringing peace and normalcy in Manipur,” Singh told the media.

Meanwhile, in a fresh move, 23 MLAs - including the 18 camping in Delhi - of the BJP-led government in Manipur have signed a resolution earlier this week expressing their pledge to protect the territorial integrity of the state.

Strongly opposing the separate state or separate administration demand of the 10 tribal MLAs, the resolution had said: "It is unanimously resolved by all the undersigned members of the legislative Assembly that we would stand for the territorial integrity of the state of Manipur and that no form of separate administration would be agreed to by us."

Ten tribal MLAs, including seven belonging to the BJP, and various tribal organisations, including the Indigenous Tribal Leaders' Forum (ITLF) and Kuki Inpi Manipur (KIM), have been demanding a separate administration (equivalent to a separate state) for the tribals since May 12.

Home Minister Amit Shah, Chief Minister Biren Singh and many organisations, including the Coordinating Committee on Manipur Integrity (COCOMI), an umbrella body of the Meitei community, have been strongly opposing the demand.

Thousands of youths under the banner of 'Youths of Manipur' earlier this week held demonstrations in Imphal and their representatives met the Chief Minister and urged him to take legal action against the 10 tribal MLAs.

The youths also demanded to convene a special Assembly session to discuss the issue and to introduce the National Register of Citizens (NRC) to identify the foreign nationals. They urged all ministers, MLAs and politicians to disclose their position about the territorial integrity of Manipur.

Due to this, the 23 legislators have taken a fresh initiative to oppose the demand for division of Manipur. Earlier also, more than 40 MLAs had met Central leaders and urged them to maintain the territorial integrity of the state.