Forty MLAs from Manipur wrote to Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Wednesday demanding that the 9th, 22nd and 37th battalions of the Assam Rifles should be replaced in the state with “trustworthy Central forces” and teams of the state police, PTI reported.

The letter came two days after the Manipur government replaced Assam Rifles personnel deployed at a check post in the crucial buffer zone between the Bishnupur and Churachandpur districts were replaced with the state police and the Central Reserve Police Force. Bishnupur is a Meitei-majority district while Churachandpur is dominated by Kukis.

The 40 MLAs, most of whom are Meiteis, also said in their letter to the prime minister that the northeastern state needed “complete disarmament” to usher in an environment of peace and security.

The MLAs said that in many cases of violence, militant groups used sophisticated military-grade arms against locals. “In many cases, these firing incidents have occurred in the presence of Central Security Forces which have failed to react appropriately, or react at all,” it claimed.

They also demanded that the National Register of Citizens should be implemented “sooner rather than later” in Manipur to reassure the indigenous people of the state, according to PTI.

Centre asks Kukis to find alternate burial place

Meanwhile, on Wednesday, Union Home Minister Amit Shah urged the Indigenous Tribal Leaders Forum to find an alternate location to bury the bodies of people from the Kuki-Zo community who have been killed in the violence.

At least 187 people, including 115 Kukis and 65 Meiteis, have been killed in the ethnic clashes between the two communities since May 3.

The burial site is in the buffer zone between the Meitei-dominated Bishnupur district and Churachandpur, where the Kuki-Zo people live.

“The GoI [Government of India] requested the delegation not to insist on carrying out the burial programme at the same venue, which falls within the conflict zone, and identify an alternate location in consultation with DC Churachandpur and perform the burial at the earliest,” a press release from the ITLF said on Wednesday.

The home minister assured the group that the land would only be utilised for a common public purpose in consultation with the the Indigenous Tribal Leaders Forum and other stakeholders.

Also read:

How a burial site in Manipur became the latest flashpoint between Meiteis and Kuki-Zo groups