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CRITICAL | Kiren Rijiju: Only peaceful negotiations can bring about normalcy in Manipur


Kiren Rijiju: Only peaceful negotiations can bring about normalcy in Manipur. - The Hard News Daily
Kiren Rijiju said the problem in Manipur was “unfortunate”.

New Delhi:

The only way to bring peace to Manipur, which has been rocked by ethnic violence, is via negotiations, according to Union Minister Kiren Rijiju, who also stated that the Narendra Modi government’s next step will be to bring the state back to normal.

Mr. Rijiju blamed a Manipur High Court ruling that suggested the Meiteis be granted Scheduled Tribe (ST) status for the ongoing ethnic conflicts between the Meitei and Kuki populations in the northeastern state. In the unrest-plagued state, the violence has taken at least 219 lives.

According to Mr. Rijiju, ethnic conflicts between the Kukis and the Meiteis, two prominent communities in Manipur, rather than a rebellion against the BJP-led Central government, are the real issue.

Kiren Rijiju: Only peaceful negotiations can bring about normalcy in Manipur. - The Hard News Daily

“Go and make a plea to the Meities and Kukis who do not take up arms if you want to assist bring peace back to Manipur. Armed conflict is not going to solve anything. The best way to restore normalcy and create a peaceful climate is through constructive negotiations. In a video interview with PTI, he stated, “That will be the next stage of our efforts to bring development to Manipur.”

According to the Union Minister of Earth Sciences, Prime Minister Modi has made pleas for peace both from Parliament and the Red Fort’s ramparts, and the government has been making every effort to bring it back.

In fact, the entire country is with Manipur, as was said in the opening remarks of this year’s Independence Day speech. He stated, “They (the opposition) are bringing up this issue despite that.”

Mr. Rijiju, an Arunachal Pradesh native, stated that the only option for peace to return to Manipur is for the opposing factions to cease hostilities and engage in communication with one another.

“The Union Home Minister (Amit Shah) stayed there for four days, our MoS (Minister of State for Home Nityanand Rai) was there for 22 days and many officers were there,” added the minister.

Mr. Rijiju blamed the high court ruling that recommended the Meiteis be granted ST status for the continued ethnic conflicts between the two communities in the state.

He claimed that the high court’s ruling, which instructed the government to grant the Meities ST designation within three months, set off the conflict.

“Don’t you believe the high court issued a really unusual kind of order? It is the government’s responsibility to determine whether a community is tribal or non-tribal. It has to do with policy.

“The other side inevitably reacted when the high court issued an order stating that ST status should be granted within three months. Thus, there were conflicts. “Anyone who claims that the Centre is the cause of the conflicts in Manipur is either a fool or the worst person to make such remarks,” Mr. Rijiju stated.

Considering that the Modi administration has been working to bring peace back to the northeast, he called the situation in Manipur “unfortunate”.

“In the past ten years, Modi has accomplished a hundred times more for the Northeast than the Congress achieved in sixty years. However, a single Manipur event turned into a talking topic for the Communists, the Congress, and other parties. “They have squandered an entire generation,” he declared.

The Manipur High Court gave the state administration instructions to take Meiteis’s inclusion in the ST list into consideration on March 27, 2023. The state’s ongoing ethnic war between the Meiteis and the indigenous Kuki group was brought on by this direction.

On February 21, 2024, the high court, however, made changes to its ruling, ordering the removal of paragraph 17(iii), which had directed the Manipur government to take Meiteis’ inclusion in the STs list into consideration.

On May 3, 2023, a tribal solidarity march was held in the hill regions of Manipur to express opposition to the majority Meitei community’s quest for ST classification. This event precipitated the outbreak of ethnic conflict in the region.

Since then, the violence has claimed the lives of at least 219 individuals.

The Meitei factions are adamantly opposed to the Kukis’ proposal for a separate administration or a break from the Manipur government. They have urged lawmakers to thwart attempts at this kind of design and cautioned them against it.

About 53% of Manipur’s population are Meiteis, who are primarily found in the Imphal valley. The remaining 40% are tribal people, who generally live in the hill areas and include the Nagas and Kukis.

(This news report is from a syndicated feed. THND team members did not write or edit the content except for the headline.)

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