Imphal, Feb 6 (IANS) A nine-member delegation of various tribal organisations from Manipur under the banner of ‘Zo United’ is in Delhi to meet Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) officials on Wednesday.
The delegation will discuss the current situation in the northeastern state, which has been devastated by ethnic violence for over nine months.
The tribal leaders’ delegation comprises leaders of Indigenous Tribal Leaders’ Forum (ITLF), Committee on Tribal Unity, Kuki Inpi Manipur, Zomi Council, Hill Tribal Council and all tribe councils.
The delegation is also trying to meet Union Home Minister Amit Shah to apprise him of the situation in Manipur and present their unfulfilled demands, which include promulgation of the (Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act) in the remaining parts of the state.
The ITLF and other tribal organisations have been demanding imposition of President’s Rule in Manipur and creation of separate administrations (equivalent to separate state) for the tribals.
Ten tribal MLAs of Manipur, including seven from the ruling BJP have also been demanding a separate administration for the tribals.
The demand was on a number of occasions rejected by the Union Home Minister and Manipur Chief Minister, N Biren Singh.
Meanwhile, the ITLF on Tuesday alleged that since May 3 last year, the Meitei community has blocked all goods-laden vehicles from entering Kuki-Zo tribal areas, including essential commodities and life-saving drugs.
Since February 1, the only power line that supplies electricity to Churachandpur and Pherzawl, two Kuki-Zo tribal districts, has been sabotaged, leading to a complete blackout of electricity.
“It is pertinent to note that before the ethnic violence, there were three lines which supplied power to Churachandpur and Pherzawl Districts, but two were destroyed by miscreants in June last year. The remaining line was also sabotaged on two previous occasions before the February 1 incident,” the ITLF claimed.
An ITLF statement said, “We want to remind the people of valley areas that power lines for the capital Imphal run through tribal hills, National Highway 2 – the main supply line for all goods entering the valley – goes through Kuki-Zo areas, and most of the source of water for the valley comes from the hills. We have not taken any drastic action — despite being repeatedly attacked by militants — because of humanitarian considerations and to avoid a further escalation of the conflict which could cause a humanitarian disaster. But we have reached a point where any further instigation will be met with a befitting reply.”