Manipur’s Zomi people push for BTC-like council

Call for ‘honourable political solution’ ahead of Home Minister Amit Shah’s visit to Manipur on December 27

Ahead of Union Home Minister Amit Shah’s visit to Manipur on December 27, the State’s Zomi ethnic group has renewed its demand for a self-administered zone on the lines of the Bodoland Territorial Council (BTC) in Assam.

The Zomi Council, representing nine Zomi tribes, said it was banking on the decisive leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Mr. Shah and Manipur Chief Minister Nongthombam Biren Singh for the creation of Zoland Territorial Council (ZTC) under the Sixth Schedule of the Constitution.

According to Zomi Council chairman John K. Ngahite, the ZTC was envisaged to be modelled on the BTC.

“With Mr. Shah scheduled to visit Manipur, we are hopeful that an honourable political solution will be expedited for the Zo kindred tribes and the political dialogue with the Zomi political groups for the creation of ZTC will be resumed, as desired by majority tribes represented by the SoO,” he said in a joint statement with Zomi Council general secretary Nangzakai Suante.

SoO is the abbreviation for the tripartite suspension of operations among the Centre, the Manipur government and 25 extremist groups belonging to the Kuki-Zomi groups. While 17 of these groups formed the Kuki National Organisation (KNO), eight came together as the United People’s Front (UPF).

The SoO agreement was first signed by the underground Zomi Revolutionary Army (ZRA) in 2005. The other groups came on board later.

The KNO and UPF had demanded the creation of an autonomous hill State within Manipur when former Union Home Minister P. Chidambaram had visited the ZRA’s designated camp in December 2010. The demand evolved into that of a BTC-like territorial council when former Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh visited Manipur in March 2017.

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