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Indigenous Tribal Leaders' Forum Demand Removal of Manipur Chief Minister N. Biren Singh

Sunday, November 26, 2023

/ Published by VIRTHLI

Tuiá¹­haphai 25, 2023 (Virthli): In a press release issued by the Indigenous Tribal Leaders' Forum (ITLF) and representatives from the Kuki-Zo community, a call has been made to the central government for the immediate removal of N. Biren Singh as the chief minister of Manipur. The demand comes in response to recent remarks made by Singh, where he openly prioritized the interests of the Meitei community while neglecting his duty to represent and protect all communities of Manipur.

Singh's public statement, aired during a recent event and circulated on Meitei social media platforms on November 22, 2023, raised concerns among tribal leaders and the Kuki-Zo community. He stated his purpose in becoming a candidate for the state election was to safeguard the interests of the Meiteis, seemingly disregarding the welfare and safety of the entire population he is entrusted to serve. This statement contradicts his obligation as chief minister to maintain law and order and work towards the betterment of all citizens.

The press release also draws attention to the ongoing ethnic conflict in Manipur, which has witnessed state-sponsored violence against the minority Kuki-Zo tribals since May 3, 2023. Despite the passage of nearly seven months, large numbers of firearms looted from state armouries by Meitei mobs are still being utilized to attack tribal settlements. Shockingly, Meitei militant groups like Arambai Tenggol roam freely with automatic weapons, often accompanied by police commandos, while targeting tribal villages in Imphal and nearby areas.

The conflict has resulted in the loss of over 150 tribal lives, the burning of 7,000 homes by Meitei mobs, and the displacement of more than 40,000 tribals. In light of these atrocities, Singh's speech during the public event raised further concerns. His reference to fighting the "enemy" and insinuation of his involvement in planning the "war" were found deeply troubling. Such statements, unprecedented in the history of independent India, reinforce accusations that Singh is a Meitei chauvinist abusing his position of power to harm fellow Indian citizens.

The ITLF emphasized that they no longer expect fair treatment or protection from the communal Manipur government, and instead, advocate for separate administration as a viable solution. They called upon the central government, media, and prominent figures to recognize the gravity of the situation and take action against Singh's divisive actions.

As the situation continues to unfold, it remains to be seen how this demand for Singh's removal will be addressed by the central government and other concerned authorities.

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