Manipur violence: In meeting with Amit Shah, COCOMI encouraged to hold peace talks with Kukis
The Coordinating Committee on Manipur Integrity (COCOMI), an umbrella body of several Imphal-based civil society organisations, on Friday said that during a meeting with Union Home Minister Amit Shah on Friday, its functionaries were encouraged to initiate peace dialogues with the Kuki community.
The organisation said that its delegation called on Shah in New Delhi and discussed various issues related to the state rocked by ethnic violence for nearly four months.
Following the meeting held in Shah’s residence, COCOMI leaders held deliberation with “top officials of the Intelligence Bureau, as per the Minister’s instructions,” the Imphal-based body said in a statement here.
“COCOMI was encouraged to initiate dialogues with responsible Kuki leaders and groups to facilitate problem-solving and peace-building,” the statement said.
The matters that came up for discussion with Shah include steps to stop infiltration into the northeastern state such as border fencing, territorial integrity of Manipur and ensuring that essential commodities reach all sections of the people.
“The Union Home Minister emphasised a firm stance against all forms of infiltration into Manipur’s territory. Measures are being implemented to register immigrants using biometrics, including retina scans,” the statement read.
There will be no allowance for separate administrations in Manipur, the COCOMI said.
Ten tribal MLAs belonging to the Chin-Kuki-Mizo-Zomi group in Manipur have urged the Centre to create a separate administration for their community in the wake of the violent clashes between the Meiteis and tribals. The legislators include seven leaders of the ruling BJP.
“Ensuring the movement and distribution of commodities in the state can be possibly realised with the support from both sides of the communities. Necessary deployment of convoys to secure the highways shall be ensured in a few days,” the COCOMI said.
Demanding adequate supplies of essential commodities to Kuki-Zo communities in hill areas of Manipur, a tribal group on August 22 imposed blockades on National Highway-37, connecting Manipur’s Imphal with Silchar of Assam, and NH-2, which links Imphal with Nagaland’s Dimapur. The police said the blockades were more or less cleared.
“The home minister appealed for peace in the state and requested COCOMI to convey this message to the people,” the statement said.
More than 160 people lost their lives and several hundreds were injured since the ethnic clashes broke out in Manipur on May 3, after a ‘Tribal Solidarity March’ was organised in the hill districts to protest against the Meitei community’s demand for Scheduled Tribe (ST) status.
Meiteis account for about 53 per cent of Manipur’s population and live mostly in the Imphal Valley. Tribals — Nagas and Kukis — constitute little over 40 per cent and reside in the hill districts.
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