Haokip, is one of the 10 MLAs (including seven belonging to BJP), who along with several other tribal organisations since May 12 have been demanding to create separate administrations (equivalent to separate state) for the tribals, who constitute 40 per cent of Manipur’s three million populations.
Manipur state Congress Vice-President Hareshwor Goswami rejecting Haokip’s demand disclosed that Kuki outfits — United Peoples’ Front (UPF) and Kuki National Organisation (KNO) — recently held talks with the Union Home Ministry wherein the demand of creating union territories was floated.
Home Ministry’s Advisor A. K Mishra was also present in the meeting, held in New Delhi.
A total of 23 underground outfits under two conglomerates — 8 under UPF and 15 under KNO — are currently under Suspension of Operation (SoO) with the Government of India since August, 2008.
“Both the central and state governments along with the BJP must clarify Haokip’s demand to create three separate Union Territories in Manipur for the Meitei, Kuki and Naga communities,” Goswami told IANS.
Haokip has been advocating that the way forward to resolve the state’s ethnic conflict is by creating three separate union territories for the three communities.
Indigenous Tribal Leaders’ Forum (ITLF), an apex body of tribals in Manipur and influential Kuki organisation Kuki Inpi Manipur (KIM) have also been demanding separate administrations for the tribals.
Union Home Minister Amit Shah, Chief Minister N Biren Singh and Meitei civil society organisations including the Coordinating Committee on Manipur Integrity (COCOMI), an umbrella body of Meitei community, had also strongly rejected the separate administrations demand.
The COCOMI accompanied by Naga and Muslim organisations last week organised a massive rally in Imphal opposing the division of Manipur.
Political analysts observed that creation of separate union territories for the Meiteis, Nagas, and Kukis are also not feasible given the fact that there are mixed populations in many villages and districts in Manipur.
Meiteis account for 53 per cent of Manipur’s three million population, while Naga tribes make up for 24 per cent and Kuki/Zomi tribes constitute 16 per cent.
The valley areas, where the Meiteis are living, are around 10 per cent of the total geographical areas of Manipur while the hilly areas occupy around 90 per cent territory of the northeastern state.