In an outspoken interview, one of the BJP’s Manipur MLAs has described what’s happening in the state as “targeted ethnic cleansing, clear and simple”, adding, “I have lost faith in (chief minister N.) Biren Singh”. Paolienlal Haokip, BJP MLA for Saikot in the Churachandpur district of Manipur, said Singh is “anti-Kuki”, “he’s prejudiced” adding “many Meiteis confirm this”. However, the BJP MLA further said he has full faith in the BJP.
In an interview to The Wire, Haokip was asked, “How effectively or ineptly is the Manipur government handling the situation?” He answered: “It’s the best example of inept handling of everything.” He said, “State forces seem to be openly aiding the rioters.”
Asked if he thinks president’s rule is required in Manipur, Haokip said, “I would prefer a change of leadership, otherwise President’s rule”. “That is for the Centre to decide,” he added. “I can only wish there’s a change in the way things are handled.”
Haokip pointedly added “the Kukis are not likely to accept any talks whilst Biren is in power”.
Speaking specifically about allegations that chief minister N. Biren Singh has been using language calling Kukis foreigners and even illegal immigrants, accusing them of involvement in the drugs trade and poppy cultivation as well as trespassing on forest land, Haokip confirmed that the chief minister has said all these things and “it’s on record”. He added Singh is “maligning the entire Kuki community”. However, even though the question was put to him two or three times, Haokip could not or would not answer why the chief minister is targeting Kukis and what is the chief minister’s motive or agenda in doing so. He said you must ask Biren Singh.
Describing what has happened in Manipur over the last few days, Haokip said: “All Kuki settlements in the Imphal Valley have been torched…all Kuki settlements bordering Meitei districts have been targeted and villages burnt down…Manipur police commandoes have taken sides against the Kukis.”