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Kuki Civil Organizations Press For 6th Schedule

IMPHAL, Dec 13: A joint meeting of the Kuki civil organizations held today at Munpi village, Chandel district has demanded extension of 6th Schedule of the Indian Constitution to the tribal inhabited areas of Manipur.

The meeting held at the head office of Gunpi Kuki Chiefs’ Association was attended by representatives of the Kuki People’s Forum, Kuki Chiefs’ Association Tengnoupal, Gunpi Area Chiefs’ Association, Kana Area Chiefs’ Association, Kuki Women Association for Human Rights, Dingpi Area Kuki Chiefs’ Association and the Thadou Students’ Association.

The meeting endorsed the UKLF’s demand for setting up Kuki (Khulmi) Development Council under 6th Schedule of the Indian Constitution.

The UKLF has already submitted a memorandum to the Prime Minister in this regard.

Later speaking to media persons, president of the Kuki People’s Forum, Chandel, Lhunthang Mate said that it has been almost five years since the Suspension of Operation (SoO) was signed in 2005.

He asserted that the time is ripe to begin political dialogue between the Government of India, Govt of Manipur and Kuki armed groups included under KNO and the UPF.

If the Government of Manipur is serious and sincerely committed to achieve its policy for equal development of both the valley and hill area of Manipur, extension of 6th Schedule is necessary particularly in view of the size of Assembly Constituencies and their electorates in the hill areas of Manipur, Lhunthang asserted.

Comparatively, the size of one Assembly constituency and its electorates represented by one hill MLA is three to four times larger than their valley counterparts.

Efforts for equal development of the hills and valley of Manipur shall never bear fruit under the present scheme of things unless a new and novel administrative mechanism for the hill area is worked out. As such, there is a need for a separate administrative unit under the provision of 6th Schedule without slightest disturbance to the territorial integrity of Manipur.

Observing that territorial integrity of Manipur is a very delicate and sensitive issue, Lhunthang asserted that any political demand compromising the territorial integrity of Manipur is not healthy to the age old harmony in the State besides being not pragmatic in the sense that Manipur is among the smallest States of the Indian Union in terms of geographical area and population.

Any idealistic proposal to carve out a separate political unit compromising the State’s territorial integrity is not feasible and practicable as that would be too fragmented unit(s).

The core issue in the hill area of Manipur is development and the only solution is application of 6th Schedule of the Indian Constitution, he asserted.

Lhunthang further appealed to the Government of India and the Government of Manipur to hold an early political dialogue with SoO signatories in order to bring a permanent political solution for the Kukis under provision of the 6th Schedule of the Indian Constitution.

(The Sangai Express)

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