The Manipur ethnic violence has started taking its toll on bureaucracy also. A 2015 batch IAS officer Ng Ruben Singh , promoted from State Civil Services, has been suspended as he refused to join conflict affected Jiribam district as deputy commissioner.
Manipur chief secretary Vineet Joshi, 1992 batch IAS of Manipur cadre, invoked Rule 3 of the All India Service (Discipline & Appeal) Rules, 1969, to suspend him with immediate effect.
The suspension follows the officer's failure to comply with the transfer order.
The conduct of Ng Roben Singh, IAS is unbecoming of a Government servant. During the period of suspension, the Headquarters of Ng Roben Singh will be at Imphal and he shall not leave the said Headquarters without obtaining prior permission of the competent authority, said the suspension order.
Reason behind suspension
As per reports, the suspended officer expressed reservations about working in Kuki-dominated areas due to safety concerns for Meitei Civil Officers like himself.
Roben Singh, serving as the joint secretary, cooperation, rural development and panchayatiraj, was given the new post and transferred through an August 2nd order to join and take charge as Deputy Commissioner of Jiribam district on August 10.
As the IAS officer cited the present conflict between Kukis and Meiteis, and the danger of travelling on road as reasons for refusing to join the new post, a helicopter for transportation was also arranged which he again refused, according to the order of suspension.
Additionally, he also pointed out the frequent transfers he had undergone in the past and expressed willingness to serve as Deputy Commissioner in the districts most affected by communal violence in the valley.
Who are the Kuki and Meitei?
The Meitei have roots in Manipur, Myanmar and surrounding areas. The vast majority are Hindu although some follow the Sanamahi religion. The Kukis, mostly Christian, have spread across the north-east of India, and many of those in Manipur can trace their roots back to Myanmar too.
Meiteis mostly live in the Imphal valley, while the Kukis live in the surrounding hills and beyond.
Why the violence?
Tensions boiled over when Kukis began protesting against demands from the Meiteis to be given official tribal status, which the Kukis argued would strengthen their already strong influence on government and society, allowing them to buy land or settle in predominantly Kuki areas.
But there are myriad underlying reasons. The Kukis say a war on drugs waged by the Meitei-led government is a screen to uproot their communities.
Illegal migration from Myanmar has heightened tensions. There is pressure on land use from a growing population and unemployment has pushed youth towards the various militias.