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Manipur’s tribal leaders reach Delhi to hold talks with Amit Shah

Aizawl: Delegates of Manipur’s Indigenous Tribal Leaders’ Forum (ITLF) who reached in Delhi from Lamka (Churachandpur) via Aizawl on Monday said that they are scheduled to hold talks with Union Home Minister Amit Shah in Delhi on Tuesday.

The ITLF leaders said that they have been invited by Shah to hold negotiations on the proposed mass burial of 35 Kuki-Zo tribals slain in the current violence in Manipur which began on May 3.

The mass burial was proposed to be held on August 3 at S. Boljang in Torbung area of Lamka (Churachandpur), but was deferred after the intervention of Mizoram Chief Minister Zoramthanga on the night of August 2, who asked the ITLF leaders to concede the appeals made by Shah.

Zoramthanga’s counsel was also sought in regards to hold talks with the Union Home Minister as the Kuki-Zo leaders have some reservations when Shah on Saturday invited them for talks in Delhi again in regards to the mass burial.

The ITLF leaders finally agreed to meet Shah after Zoramthanga advised them not to abandon an opportunity to hold talks with the Union Home Minister face to face and place their demands before him in person.

The Kuki-Zo delegation members told reporters in Aizawl that while the centre wants to discuss about the proposed mass burial issue, they will also raise the issue of ‘separate administration’ from the Manipur government.

The four-member delegation led by ITLF spokesperson Ginza Vualzawng, comprising Letpu Haokip, Thangzamang Hangshing, and Muan Tombing, all of them executive members arrived in Aizawl on Sunday night by undertaking bumpy ardous ride on a stretch of 370 kilometres from Lamka by road.

After spending a night in Aizawl, they took the 2 Pm flight from the lone Lengpui airport near Aizawl to Delhi via Guwahati on Monday.

The delegation members, in a normal situation could have driven to Imphal airport from Lamka which is barely 60 kilometres, but travelling to Imphal in the current situation would be an extremely risky endeavour, one of the ITLF members said in Aizawl.

“Undertaking the marathon and gruelling 370 kilometre road trip from Lamka to Aizawl is much safer even as the road is in good condition,” he said.

He also said that availing the helicopter service between Lamka and Imphal airport, recently initiated by the Manipur state government, is also not safe due to the prevailing volatile situation.

The Manipur government should have made arrangement of helicopter service between Lamka and Aizawl, rather than Lamka-Imphal service, he said, adding that no Kuki-Zo tribal will utilise the helicopter service as it may be “suicidal.”

He added that the geographic and democratic divisions have been completed already with the majority Meitei community living in the Imphal valley and the Kuki-Zo community living in the hills.

Meanwhile, state home department officials said that as of 5 PM on Monday, there are 12,629 Manipur’s internally displaced people taking shelter in Mizoram.

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