All the 10 Kuki MLAs in Manipur, including eight from the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party, on Friday refuted Chief Minister N Biren Singh’s claim that they are in talks with him.

“At this politically critical juncture, we do not have any intention to communicate with CM [Chief Minister] N Biren Singh,” the MLAs said in a statement. “His claim of communicating with the Kuki-Zomi-Hmar MLAs may be a ploy to sow seeds of mistrust and disunity between the Kuki-Zomi-Hmar MLAs and their people.”

At least 190 people have been killed and nearly 60,000 have been forced to flee their homes since clashes broke out between the Kuki and Meitei communities in the Northeastern state on May 3. The state has reported cases of rape and murder, and mobs have looted police armoury and set several homes on fire despite the heavy presence of central security forces.

Several Opposition leaders and the BJP MLAs in Manipur have called for the removal of Singh, who belongs to the Meitei community, for failing to control the violence. All the Kuki MLAs have even asked Prime Minister Narendra Modi for separate administrative posts for the five districts that are dominated by their tribal community.

On Thursday, Singh told The Hindu that he is in touch with the legislators from the Kuki-Zo community and would provide adequate security for them to attend the Assembly session slated for August 29.

“The [Kuki] MLAs and ministers, we are old friends, I am talking to them, I told them we cannot be separated,” the chief minister claimed. “We have been together all these years and will be together in future as well.”

He added that the authorities would provide adequate security for Kuki MLAs to attend the Assembly session in the Meitei-dominated Imphal Valley. The MLAs had earlier announced a boycott of the session due to security concerns.

In the statement issued on Friday, the MLAs noted that Vungzagin Valte, a Kuki MLA from the BJP and an adviser to Singh on tribal affairs, had been beaten up and “left to die by Meitei extremist” in Imphal on May 4.

The MLAs highlighted that no arrests have been made in the case so far.

“Of late, Imphal Valley has become a ‘Valley of Death’ for the Kuki-Zomi-Hmar people...Even the identity of paramilitary personnel on duty are not spared, they were checked and verified by the so-called Meira Paibis [a community of Meitei women],” the statement added. “Our official quarters and private residences are either looted, attacked or burned by mobs.”

Nemcha Kipgen, one of the signatories of the statement, separately wrote to the Speaker of the Assembly saying that she cannot attend the session next week.

“I have consulted with security professionals who strongly recommend that I exercise caution and refrain from attending the session due to the volatile law and order situation in Imphal,” the BJP MLA said in a letter.