A group representing the ethnic group Kuki-Zo in India’s Manipur state has declared “self-rule” in the districts dominated by the community members, The Hindu reported. The state is ruled by the ruling party BJP of Narendra Modi.
The group, which is called the Indigenous Tribal Leaders Forum (ITLF), has announced that the tribal community would have a separate chief minister and expelled government officials from the community would be given responsibilities.
They were forced out of the state capital Imphal when ethnic violence erupted in the state on May 3. At least 150 people were killed and 400 wounded in the ethnic violence, according to media reporters. Over 60,000 were forced from their homes as the army, paramilitary forces, and police struggled to quell violence.
The group took the step following the “selective justice” by the central Indian government, ITLF General Secretary Muan Tombing told the Indian media outlet on Wednesday.
“We do not care if the Centre doesn’t recognise us. The plan has been under discussion for the past one month. The Kuki-Zo people in Tengnoupal, Kangpokpi and Churachandpur districts will have self-rule. We have no expectation from the ‘Meitei Manipur government’,” he said.
The Union Home Ministry has so far not issued any response on the issue.
The ITLF secretary general alleged that the ethnic group’s people were referred to as “outsiders” by Home Minister Amit Shah in Parliament in August. He refused to meet the minister in the future.
Also, read this
In the same month, Modi had said that his government was working to end ethnic clashes in the country’s remote northeast.
The ITLF has held several rounds of negotiations with the home ministry’s officials since May 3.
The state was on the news headlines earlier this year for a shocking video that showed two Kuki women paraded naked by Meitei men shortly after their village was razed.
Tensions boiled over when Kukis protested against demands from the Meiteis to be given official tribal status, which the former feared would strengthen their influence on government and society.