Imphal, Nov 29 (IANS): Thousands of Kuki-Zo tribals on Wednesday organised mega rallies in Mizoram, Tripura, Delhi, Karnataka, and Tamil Nadu, besides different districts in Manipur to highlight their main demand for "separate administrations" (equivalent to separate state) for the tribals in Manipur.
The rally was organised under the aegis of Zo United, a civil society organisation and parent body for all Kuki-Zo tribes in Manipur.
Ten Manipur tribal MLAs, including seven from the ruling BJP, who have been demanding a ‘separate administrations’ for the tribals in the state since the ethnic riots began in the state on May 3, also participated in the rallies.
The Central and state governments and BJP leaders, however, on a number of occasions, rejected the demand and vowed to maintain a united Manipur.
Manipur tribals’ apex body, Indigenous Tribal Leaders’ Forums (ITLF), senior leader Ginza Vualzong said that thousands of men and women participated in the Kuki-Zo tribals’ rallies in Mizoram, Tripura, Delhi, Karnataka, and Tamil Nadu, besides different districts in Manipur.
Carrying placards and banners of "Separate administration is the only solution", "Metei government, down, down", "Tribal area, tribal government" and "No solution, no rest", the participants chanted slogans against Chief Minister N. Biren Singh.
The ITLF, since the beginning of the ethnic strife seven month ago, has been demanding removal of Singh from the Chief Ministerial post.
To intensify the "separate administrations" demand, the Kuki-Zo tribals, for the first time, held rallies in five other states on Wednesday.
The Zo United in a statement claimed that in the ethnic violence, more than 7,000 houses of the tribals were burnt down, 152 people belonging to Kuki-Zo community killed and more than 50,000 people displaced.
"We have been butchered and chased out of the capital and the valley areas. There is no longer any hope for Kuki-Zo tribals to live a dignified life in a state controlled by the Meitei community. A separate administration is the only option for us," it said in the statement.
Manipur tribal MLAs, including ministers, and several tribal leaders on a number of occasions have met Mizoram Chief Minister Zoramthanga in Aizawl and sought his intervention to solve the ethnic crisis in Manipur.
Zoramthanga, who is the President of the ruling Mizo National Front (MNF), had said in Aizawl that the tribal MLAs of Manipur including ministers met him in Aizawl recently and requested him to hold talks with the Naga leaders in Manipur and Nagaland regarding the current ethnic turmoil in the neighbouring state. He said that the Manipur legislators, belonging to Kuki-Zo tribals, wanted to maintain good relationship with the Naga tribal community in this time of ethnic strife in Manipur.