In a significant development, 10 MLAs from the Naga community convened on Friday to address the issue of demand for a separate administration within Manipur by Kuki-Zomi MLAs. A delegation comprising ten Naga MLAs from Manipur, including five members from the Naga People’s Front (NPF) such as Manipur Transport Minister Khashim Vashum, Leishio Keishing, Awangbow Newmai, Ram Muivah, and Losii Dikho; two BJP MLAs S.S. Olish and Dinganglung Ganmei; two NPP MLAs N Kayisii and Janghemlung Panmei; along with Independent member J Kumo Sha, accompanied by Outer Manipur MP Lorho Pfoze of NPF, recently met with Amit Shah in Delhi.
Responding to the Union Home Minister’s invitation in Delhi, the Naga MLAs shared their concerns on the situation in Manipur.
Emphasising the contentious issue of a separate administration, the MLAs stressed that the Naga areas should not be tampered with, given the prolonged disputes surrounding it. They urged Shah to ensure that the Nagas are consulted before making any arrangements in accordance with the ongoing peace process, with the aim of preventing further escalations.
Awangbow Newmai, an NPF member, stated that the delegation conveyed to the Union Minister that if a separate administration were to be arranged for Kukis, the Naga areas should not be affected, as it has been a contentious issue for many years. They highlighted that Manipur had experienced numerous issues and problems in the past when separate administrations were created. Furthermore, the delegation urged Shah to consult the Naga people in order to prevent further escalation of the ongoing situation.
He claimed that Shah assured them that if a separate administrative set-up were to be implemented, all three communities of Manipur – Kukis, Meiteis, and Nagas – would be appropriately consulted.
When asked if they had any other demands, Newmai replied that excluding the Naga areas in case of any separate arrangements was their sole request. On the role of Naga MLAs in the crisis-hit Manipur, Newmai asserted that the Nagas were peace-loving citizens who had made efforts to bridge the divide and facilitate negotiations between both sides. He dismissed the notion that the current crisis in Manipur was a deliberate delay tactic by the Central government concerning the ongoing Naga peace process, stating that the Home Minister was genuinely concerned about the situation.
Newmai acknowledged that it was a highly ‘sensitive’ issue that the Nagas are not taking sides with anyone. “Our silence implies that we are not taking sides with anyone,” he clarified.
During this constructive dialogue, the MLAs expressed their appreciation for Shah’s swift response to their concerns. The delegation expressed gratitude to Shah for his prompt action in bringing the situation under control in Manipur and also their efforts to bring both the communities to an understanding to restore normalcy.