Imphal: After ruling and opposition MLAs jointly assured ‘Arambai Tenggol’, a powerful radical Meitei organization, to urge the Central government to resolve the Manipur crisis, the Indigenous Tribal Leaders' Forum (ITLF), an apex body of tribals, has once again asked the Centre to promulgate President’s Rule in the state.
The ITLF said that the imposition of President’s Rule is the only way the Central government can prevent total anarchy in Manipur.
“If President’s Rule is not imposed now, then when," the influential tribal body asked.
Senior ITLF leader and spokesman Ginza Vualzong claimed that Manipur police and central security forces remained mute spectators as Arambai Tenggol leader Korounganba Khuman arrived at the venue at Kangla Fort in Imphal City in a police vehicle, and the group (Arambai Tenggol) proceeded to conduct an oath-taking ceremony for the MLAs.
“All these happened even as a special team from the Union Home Ministry is camping in the city. Why did the world’s largest democracy allow this," Vualzong asked in a statement.
It added: “For the first time in history, the group was able to order state lawmakers, including the Chief Minister, to attend the meeting it had called and made the MLAs endorse their demands.”
The ITLF urged the Central government to take action against Arambai Tenggol leader Korounganba Khuman for allegedly “posting pictures and videos of himself holding assault rifles, and publicly giving speeches before armed men calling for attacks on tribals”.
On Wednesday, Union Minister of State for External Affairs and Education, Rajkumar Ranjan Singh, Rajya Sabha member Leishemba Sanajaoba, and 37 Meitei community MLAs, including ministers and opposition legislators, signed a resolution including six charters of demands put forth by Arambai Tenngol.
Except Chief Minister N. Biren Singh, all the 36 Meitei MLAs along with the Union Minister and the Rajya Sabha member attended the Kangla Fort meeting with the 55-unit commanders of Arambai Tenngol, presided over by the group supremo Korounganba Khuman.
A source close to the Chief Minister said that Singh did not physically attend the Kangla Fort meeting, but he signed the resolution paper.
Former Chief Minister and veteran Congress leader Okram Ibobi Singh and state Congress President Keisham Meghachandra Singh also attended the meeting.
The demands include abrogation of the Suspension of Operation (SoO) signed between the Central and state governments and 23 Kuki militant outfits in 2008, implementation of National Register of Citizens (NRC), replacement of Assam Rifles with other Central forces, removal of illegal Kuki immigrants from the Scheduled Tribes list, relocating all Myanmarese refugees to Mizoram and border fencing along the India-Myanmar border.
The Arambai Tenggol had called the vital meeting after the militants, in their stepped-up attacks in the last couple of days, killed many persons, including two Manipur Police commandos, four villagers and a village defence volunteer.
Meanwhile, a three-member Central team led by Advisor to the Home Ministry, A.K. Mishra, which arrived in Manipur on Monday evening, left Imphal for Delhi on Thursday after holding a series of meetings with government officials, leaders of various organisations, and elected representatives.
Officials said that Mishra, accompanied by two Joint Directors in the Intelligence Bureau, Mandeep Singh Tuli and Rajesh Kumble, also held a meeting with the leaders of the Arambai Tenggol and other tribal leaders.
Meanwhile, earlier in the week, 34 MLAs, mostly from the ruling BJP, along with seven Naga legislators urged the Central government to abrogate the SoO with the Kuki militant outfits, otherwise the legislators would take “appropriate action” in consultation with the people.
"If the Government of India is unable to take any positive action as per the resolution, we, the legislators, will take appropriate action in consultation with the public," said the resolution, accessed by IANS.