Manipur Assembly Session Delayed Despite Cabinet Recommendation; Kuki MLAs Unlikely to Attend

Imphal: Naga MLAs had also said they would not be attending the session as they felt Naga peace talks were being hindered by the state government

BY | Monday, 21 August, 2023

Despite the Manipur cabinet recommending Governor Anusuiya Uikey convene an assembly session from August 21, the House did not sit on Monday as “no notification” has been issued by Raj Bhavan so far, officials said, creating a dilemma of sorts. This comes after 10 Kuki MLAs, cutting across party affiliations, had expressed their inability to attend the assembly session as violence in the northeastern state continued. “For a normal assembly session, a notification has to be issued 15 days before the beginning of it. No such notification has so far been issued by the Governor’s office,” an official told PTI. The state government had, however, asked for the session after a cabinet meeting held earlier this month.

“The state cabinet has recommended to the Hon’ble Governor of Manipur for summoning the 4th session of the 12th Manipur Legislative Assembly on the 21st August, 2023,” an official statement said on August 4. The previous assembly session was held in March, and violence broke out in the state in May. “The last assembly session was adjourned sine die in March. It is a constitutional obligation that the next session must be held before September 2,” another official said. Meanwhile, Congress Legislature Party Leader O Ibobi Singh on Sunday said that “no assembly session has been convened even after the Manipur cabinet decided to hold it”, adding that it is “mandatory for the state assembly to hold a session every six months”. However, it is unclear whether Kuki MLAs will agree to join the session. “In view of the prevailing law and order situation, it will not be possible on my part to attend the upcoming session,” LM Khaute, BJP MLA for Churachandpur, one of the worst-hit districts by the ongoing race riots, had earlier told PTI in a telephonic interview.

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For good measure, Khaute said that violence and the lack of a resolution to demands made by the Kukis for a separate administration “will not make it possible for all the Kuki-Zomi-Hmar MLAs to attend the session”. Naga MLAs had also said they would not be attending the session as they felt Naga peace talks were being hindered by the state government. Responding to a media query, Chief Minister N Biren Singh had earlier said that the assembly session would be convened before September 2. The violence in the state erupted in early May after a ‘Tribal Solidarity March’ was organised in the hill districts to protest against the Meitei community’s demand for Scheduled Tribe (ST) status. Since then, more than 160 people have died and several hundreds were injured in ethnic clashes in Manipur.

Meiteis account for about 53 per cent of Manipur’s population and live mostly in the Imphal Valley, while tribals, which include Nagas and Kukis, constitute 40 per cent and reside mainly in the hill districts.

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