N Biren Singh
Manipur Chief Minister N Biren Singh has confirmed that his government is engaged in “peace talks” with an insurgent group based in Imphal Valley. This is the first official confirmation of such talks, in which the emphasis will be on establishing peace through talks on matters related to the ethnic violence that broke out in the state on May 3. The Chief Minister avoided telling with which rebel group the talks were taking place.
It is believed that a faction of the banned United National Liberation Front (UNLF) may be involved in the talks. Chief Minister N Biren Singh said that the talks are in their advanced phase. If the talks are successful then it will be a major success on the front of dealing with the challenges faced in Manipur. A news agency PTI quoted sources as saying that the government is in talks with UNLF.
Manipur violence, more than 180 people lost their lives
Ethnic violence in Manipur began on May 3, triggered by a “tribal solidarity march” organized in the hill districts of the state. The march was taken out in protest against the demands put forward by the Meitei community for tribal villagers who were seeking Scheduled Tribe (ST) status. The Meiteis, who constitute about 53% of Manipur’s population and live mainly in the Imphal Valley, argue that ST status will provide protection to their cultural identity and their ancestral lands.
More than 180 people died in the violence that lasted for several months. Manipur is mainly inhabited by Meitei and tribal communities including Naga and Kuki. Meiteis live in the valley and the tribals live mainly in the hill districts. The Kuki community argued that if Meiteis are given ST status, it could affect tribal rights. This was a major reason for violence.
Peace will be established in Manipur through talks
The beginning of peace talks between the Manipur government and the rebel group has raised hopes of a solution to the ongoing ethnic violence. These talks serve as a platform to address the grievances and concerns of different communities and find mutually agreeable solutions. By engaging in dialogue, the government aims to promote understanding, bridge divisions and establish a framework for lasting peace and communal harmony in the state.