The Indigenous Tribal Leaders Forum, a frontal organisation of Kukis in Manipur, on Wednesday gave the Union government two weeks to decide on its demand for a separate administration for Kuki-dominated areas.
“It has been over six months and nothing has been done regarding our demand for a separate administration from the Manipur government,” the group’s general secretary Muan Tombing told reporters. “So if our voice is not heard within a couple of weeks, we will be setting up our self-government whether the Centre recognises it or not, we will go ahead.”
Manipur has been wracked by deadly ethnic clashes between the majority Meiteis and the tribal Kukis since May 3. The violence has left over 200 people dead and nearly 60,000 persons have been forced to flee their homes.
Tombing on Wednesday said that the “self government” would look after the administration of all Kuki-Zo areas.
Tombing made the statement at a protest rally held in Churachandpur district to demand a Central Bureau of Investigation inquiry into the killing of 22 Kukis, including that of David Thiek, who was beheaded on July 2.
“We have been through hard times for six months now, but the Centre whom we rely on doesn’t care about us,” he told Scroll later over a phone call. “The only option is to set up a transitional government and go ahead with our demands.”
In a statement, the Indigenous Tribal Leaders Forum accused the police, the Central Bureau of Investigation and the National Investigation Agency of “cherry-picking” cases to appease the Meitei community.
“While cases blamed on Kuki-Zo tribals are swiftly taken up and arrests promptly made, cases involving tribal victims are either not taken up or are stalled indefinitely,” the statement added.
In August, all 10 Kuki MLAs in Manipur, including eight belonging to the Bharatiya Janata Party, had demanded separate administrative posts, including that of the chief secretary and the director general of police, for the five districts dominated by their tribal community. These districts are Churachandpur, Kangpokpi, Chandel, Tengnoupal and Pherzawl.