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Tribal body rejects dialogue with Manipur CM, Congress demands his sacking- The New Indian Express

By Express News Service

GUWAHATI: The Indigenous Tribal Leader’s Forum has rejected any dialogue with Manipur Chief Minister N Biren Singh and his government. Meanwhile, Congress has reiterated its demand to sack Singh.

Union home minister Amit Shah had advised the CM on Sunday in Delhi to actively engage with all stakeholders so peace could be restored in the ethnic violence-hit state early. 

Later, Singh told journalists in Imphal it was stressed at the meeting that the government and its machinery meet civil society organisations and other stakeholders to discuss and understand their demands.

However, the ITLF said after the loss of so many innocent lives and properties and untold hardships faced by the Kuki-Zo tribals, there was no point talking about peace without a political solution. 

“The CM’s intention of reaching out to stakeholders following a meeting with Home Minister Amit Shah comes too late… We have reached a point where the Kuki-Zo community can no longer live together with the Meiteis,” the ITLF said.

According to the forum, some 106 tribals were killed, over 5,000 houses burnt, 355 churches destroyed and 41,425 tribals displaced by the conflict. 

“N Biren Singh, the perpetrator of the current ethnic violence whose hatred resulted in the genocide of the Kuki-Zo community, cannot be the harbinger of peace. All tribals and a large section of his own Meitei community have lost faith in his leadership and his government,” the ITLF said.

The forum said during their talks with various leaders, including Shah, the Kuki-Zo tribals raised their demands, including political aspiration of total separation from Manipur. It said the political demand is in sync with the demand of 10 Kuki MLAs and other civil society groups.

The ITLF stressed that it is crucial for the Centre to concentrate on finding a solution to this demand for bringing about lasting peace.

Meanwhile, after noting that Shah briefed Prime Minister Narendra Modi about the Manipur situation, Congress president Mallikarjun Kharge said, “For the last 55 days, Modi ji did not say a word on Manipur. Every Indian is waiting for him to speak. If Modi ji is really concerned about Manipur, then the first thing he should do is to sack his CM.”

The Congress also demanded the confiscation of illegal weapons, starting of talks with all parties to find a common political path, ending the blockade with the help of security forces and ensuring the availability of essential items by opening and keeping the National Highways safe.

“A package of relief, rehabilitation and livelihood for the affected people should be prepared without delay. The announced relief package is grossly inadequate,” the Congress claimed.

It added, “No amount of propaganda by BJP and Modi government can cover up their abject failures in dealing with Manipur violence.”

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