High-Level Talks: Kuki group leaders confer with centre's interlocutor and MHA representatives

High-Level Talks: Kuki group leaders confer with centre's interlocutor and MHA representatives

Imphal - Leaders from two overarching organizations representing insurgent groups operating under Suspension of Operation agreements in Manipur engaged in discussions with the Centre's appointed peace negotiator, A K Mishra, alongside senior officials from the Union Home Ministry. This marked the second round of talks between these groups and the Centre.

The context for these discussions originated from ethnic clashes that occurred between members of the Kuki-Zomi tribes and the predominant Meitei community in Manipur. In July, the Centre initiated conversations with these groups in response to these clashes.

During this recent meeting, leaders from the Kuki National Organisation and the United People's Front were present. The primary focus of these talks is to address the ongoing tensions between the Kuki-Zomi tribes and the Meitei community. The Kuki-Zomi tribes are advocating for a distinct administrative entity, while the Manipur government and the Meitei community are urging the Centre to terminate the Suspension of Operation agreement with these groups. Additionally, they are opposing the call for a separate administration and are instead suggesting reinforcing the existing Autonomous District Councils situated in the tribal-dominated hill districts of the state.

In anticipation of the discussions, ten Kuki-Zomi MLAs who had previously expressed support for a separate administration submitted a memorandum to Prime Minister Narendra Modi. They requested the establishment of the positions of Chief Secretary and DGP, or equivalent roles, specifically for the five hill districts: Churachandpur, Kanpokpi, Pherzawl, Chandel, and Tengnoupal. Among these districts, Churachandpur, Kanpokpi, and Pherzawl are predominantly inhabited by the Kuki-Zomi tribes, whereas Chandel and Tengnoupal have a more mixed population of Nagas and Kukis.

The memorandum highlights that due to the Imphal valley's hazardous environment for these communities, tribe members, including individuals holding significant positions like IAS, IPS, MCS, and MPS officers, have encountered challenges returning to Imphal and performing their duties. The MLAs are calling for the creation of parallel positions in the Kuki-Zomi-dominated hill districts to address these issues faced by government employees.

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