In one of the strongest statements demanding a separate administration for the Kuki people, the general secretary of the Kuki People’s Alliance has said “it is impossible” for the Kukis to continue to live with the Meiteis in the same state. Wilson Lalam Hangshing, whose Kuki People’s Alliance supports the BJP-led N. Biren Singh government in Manipur, repeatedly and forcefully made it clear that the Kuki people will not go back on their demand for a separate administration. He also said that by separate administration they wanted either a separate state or a union territory. The option of autonomous territorial councils within Manipur, he said, is completely ruled out.
In a 32-minute interview with Karan Thapar for The Wire, Hangshing said that the Kuki People’s Alliance has lost faith in Biren Singh and although they have not as yet technically withdrawn support, they are inclined to do so. He also explained that because Biren Singh has a majority of his own, the support from the Kuki People’s Alliance is technical at best. Hangshing also said that Biren Singh is “anti-Kuki”.
In the interview, Hangshing laid the blame for the Kuki-Meitei problem on Biren Singh and his behaviour over the last 4-5 years. See the video for the details.
However, to elaborate with an example, Hangshing revealed an astonishing and deeply disturbing act of alleged irresponsibility by CM Biren Singh. He said Biren Singh was repeatedly phoned by Mr Letpao Haokip, a BJP MLA and a member of Biren Singh’s government, to say that his house is being looted and is burning down. Even though Haokip is a neighbour, Biren Singh did nothing and eventually the house burnt down. If true, it is extremely telling. Hangshing says this is proof that Biren Singh is deliberately targeting and persecuting Kukis, which is why they now insist upon and demand separation.
Hangshing makes crystal clear that, if necessary, the Kukis will fight for a separate administration and when asked if this amounts to waging war he did not deny it but said, instead, it will be self-defence.
There is also a substantial discussion about Union home minister Amit Shah’s response to the Kuki-Meitei clashes.
See the video for full details.