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'Our ancestral land does not refer to land of Kukis alone' : Importance of centenary do stressed
Source: The Sangai Express

Imphal, October 14 2019: The Anglo-Kuki War Centenary Commemoration Committee has categorically stated that the words 'our ancestral land' as inscribed on memorial stones erected in connection with the Anglo-Kuki War centenary does not refer to the Kuki community alone.

Speaking to media persons at Manipur Press Club here today, Anglo-Kuki War Centenary Commemoration Committee chairman Jangmang Haokip said that as the three-year long Kuki rebellion (1917-1919) against British colonial rulers completed 100 years, a commemorative function was held at Lonpi, Chandel district in 2017 in accordance with a decision of Kuki Inpi.

A similar commemorative function was held at Songpi, Churachandpur district last year.

The last centenary function would be held at C Aisan village of Saikul sub-division, Kangpokpi district this year, Jangmang said.

Even as preparations were being made for the last commemorative function of the Anglo-Kuki War centenary, the Tangkhul Naga Long (TNL) sent an open letter to Kuki chiefs apart from submitting a memorandum to the Chief Minister which says that there is no harm in observing the Anglo-Kuki War centenary but the inscription on memorial stones 'in defence of our ancestral land and freedom' is unacceptable.

The Ukhrul ADC Chairman also sent a letter written under his official letterhead, Jangmang Haokip pointed out while decrying all these objections.

He also pointed out that the Kuki Inpi Manipur had already issued a clarification on the matter through media.

'Our ancestral land' does not differentiate the lands of Kukis, Nagas or Meiteis but it refers to the common homeland.

"The Anglo-Kuki War is similar to the Khongjom War where our forefathers fought in defence of the common homeland", Jangmang said.

Kuki people are commemorating the war fought by Kuki forefathers against British colonial rulers from 1917 to 1919 and it is unbecoming of some Tangkhul organisations to say that there were no Kuki villages in Manipur till 1917, he continued.

The matter had been deliberated at the Chief Minister's level and an understanding was reached.

"We have also talked with the Chief Secretary and the DGP.

We told them our forefathers defended our land before India and Burma achieved independence and we are commemorating the event in remembrance of our forefathers", he said.

It is quite disheartening that the Home Department issued an order yesterday asking for removal of the memorial stones erected in connection with the centenary celebration.

A joint meeting of Kuki Inpi Manipur and the Anglo-Kuki War Centenary Commemoration Committee was held today and the meeting resolved to condemn the State Government's order, allegedly issued at the insistence of the Tangkhul Naga Long, to remove the memorial stones erected in connection with the commemorative function, Jangmang conveyed.

Urging the Government to withdraw the particular order at the earliest, the commemoration committee chairman said that the Government should be held accountable for any untoward incident resulting from not withdrawing the order.

The joint meeting held today also resolved that no Kuki should take part in the Shirui Lily festival, he said.

Kuki Inpi Manipur president Khaimang Chongloi said that KIM is committed to three political principles viz; non-sectarianism, harmonious co-existence and justice for all.

Some people have been claiming that the words 'In defence of our ancestral land and freedom' inscribed on memorial stones are communal but we have no intention to claim any area as 'our ancestral land', Khaimang said.

Manipur was under monarchy in 1917 and there was neither Government of India nor Government of Burma.

All the communities namely; Kuki, Naga, Meitei and others were living in harmony independently, claimed the KIM president.

"War broke out when British empire tried to colonise the land defended by our forefathers and this is the root for the term 'Anglo-Kuki War in defence of our ancestral land' .

The centenary function is not restricted to Kuki community alone", Khaimang said.

He then appealed to people of all communities to join the Anglo-Kuki War centenary celebration.

Meanwhile Sadar Hills ADC Member Thangkam Lupheng has written to Chief Minister N Biren categorically stating that there is no reason to see the Anglo-Kuki War centenary celebration in the negative perspective.

"It is the duty and responsibility of every community to preserve and maintain the legacy of their forefathers.

Likewise, we the Kukis too are duty bound to acknowledge and pay homage to the bravery and valour of our forefathers in a befitting manner.

It is not directed against any community", said the ADC Member.


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