The party needs more time to look into Kuki’s issues. Still, it is also mindful of the significant Meitei support for Biren Singh, according to the message sent by Amit Shah to CM N Biren Singh and senior state ministers on Sunday.
The central leadership of the BJP is said to have issued strict directives to the warring factions to concentrate on restoring normalcy in the state and avoid “overindulgence in petty politics” as a result of tensions between the Kuki-Zomi tribes and the majority Meitei community in Manipur.
“Both sides have been asked to focus on restoring normalcy in the state. The leadership is very upset with the shape the tension between the two groups has taken. The message they have been given: Focus on normalcy in the state, zyada rajneeti mat karo abhi (do not do too much politics),” stated a leader who was aware of the situation.
This happened the day after N Biren Singh, the chief minister, and four other senior state ministers met Amit Shah, the union’s home minister, in Delhi. Sources claim that Shah expressed the central leadership’s discontent with the state’s developments and how they were handled.
The meeting was held shortly after all 10 Kuki BJP MLAs from the community renewed their call for a separate Kuki administration last week. They include the chief minister’s adviser MLA Vunzagin Valte, ministers Letpao Haokip and Nemcha Kipgen, and other individuals who sustained significant injuries in a mob attack during the recent unrest in the state.
According to sources, the BJP leadership assured each side that the national leadership would address their issues and complaints promptly but that, for the time being, restoring calm to the state should take precedence.
At a press conference on Monday in Imphal, Chief Minister Singh stated that Shah has promised: “territorial integrity of Manipur will be protected at all costs.”
This occurred the same day the Kuki MLAs of the BJP issued a letter to Shah expressing their demand.
“That Manipur is now partitioned is a ground reality… there are no tribals left in Imphal Valley…There are no Meiteis left in the hills. Our people have lost faith in the Manipur government and can no longer imagine settling in the valley where their lives are unsafe,” said the letter. “The need now is a formalization of the separation through the setting up a separation of administration for the hills inhabited by our people.”
According to officials, 73 people have died as a result of the violence that started on May 3 in Churachandrapur during a protest by a tribal students’ group opposing the Meiteis’ quest for Scheduled Tribe designation and spread to other parts of the state as fire and riots.
The Chief Minister stated at the news conference that Shah was briefed on the state’s current law and order situation, particularly concerns over the alleged involvement of suspected militants in demand for a separate government [under the Suspension of Operation (SoO)].
“We briefed Amit Shah on what is going on in Manipur, particularly the violation of ground rules by the SoO groups and also on demand for separate administration put forward by some of the legislators,” Said Singh. He claimed that Shah was certain that individuals who disobey the guidelines outlined by the SoO will be “dealt with as per the law.”
The Kuki National Organisation (KNO) and the United People’s Front (UPF), two umbrella Kuki rebel organizations, and the Centre and the Manipur government signed a tripartite agreement in 2008. This agreement constantly reaffirmed, meant stopping hostilities and violence and starting a political conversation.
However, the Biren Singh-led government terminated the deal with two formations (the Kuki National Army and the Zomi Revolutionary Army) in March because they were provoking unrest.
According to BJP insiders in Delhi, the party wants more time to investigate the complaints of the Kuki MLAs and the community, leading to the state’s louder calls for a leadership change. They said the senior leadership was also aware of Biren Singh’s broad Meitei backing. They warned that disturbing him would have dire repercussions.
— ANI (@ANI) May 15, 2023
The delicate balancing act was displayed on Monday as Shah met with Mizoram civil society organizations and Kuki community representatives from Manipur. He promised them justice and said the administration would take all necessary steps to protect all communities in the state. He met with representatives of the Meitei community the day before the summit.
“During the meetings, Shah reviewed the measures taken to restore peace in Manipur, which has witnessed violent clashes between two ethnic communities. He directed strict action against the perpetrators of violence. He assured complete support and help of the central government for ensuring lasting peace,” In a statement, the Ministry of Home Affairs stated.
Shah also pushed for dialogue with all parties and the propagation of a message of peace.
In the meantime, intermittent acts of violence persisted in the districts bordering Imphal that are predominately Kuki, according to security advisor to the Manipur government Kuldeep Singh on Monday. In a shootout on Sunday in the Torbung area between armed criminals and security authorities, at least two Assam Rifles soldiers were hurt. Armed criminals set fire to two homes in the Torbung neighborhood of the Bishnupur district, and a firefight ensued.