TODAY -

Thadou Inpi against ST tag to 'Kuki'
Source: The Sangai Express

Imphal, July 30 2021: The Thadou Inpi - General Headquarters (TI-GHqs) has objected the move of the State Government to recommend addition of "Kuki" in the list of recognised Scheduled Tribes of Manipur.

In a letter addressed to Chief Minister N Biren Singh, the apex body of the Thadou tribe stated they had on several occasions submitted memoranda to the State Government (the most recent one being in March 2021) and the Central Government (the most recent being on June 16) for deletion of Any Kuki tribes and objection to change Any Kuki tribes to Kuki tribe or addition of Kuki tribe in the list of Scheduled Tribes of Manipur.

Saying that Kuki is not a tribe, nor the name of a tribe, but a generic term to refer to a number of different tribes, the statement added that the dialect/language, culture and identity of the 'Any Kuki Tribes' or the proposed Kuki tribe are only that of Thadou tribe, which had been duly recognised in 1956 as a distinct tribe with its own distinct Thadou dialect/language, culture, customs, traditions and costumes.

"There is no such thing as Kuki tribe or Kuki language or costumes and as such Kuki cannot be a separate tribe or the name of a tribe.

Clearly Kuki does not possess any of the pre-requisites of a tribe.

There is no need or logical rationale for recognition of Kuki as a separate tribe," it added.

TI also stated Thadou is a tribe like Tangkhul tribe while Kuki is a generic term like Naga, which is not a tribe but a collective name consisting of various tribes.

Claiming that Kuki has no separate dialect/language or culture, but it is a makeup of various constituent tribes, without which it is a non-entity, TI continued that recognised Scheduled Tribes of Manipur like Gangte, Vaiphei, Simte, Paite, Hmar, Zou have rejected the term Kuki long time ago.

As such, the claim or the notion that Kuki is a separate tribe or that some tribes should be included under a new separate Kuki tribe, is totally wrong, misleading and holds no merit and is vritenable, it reasoned.

Before the reorganisation of Scheduled Tribes of Manipur in 1956, tribes of Manipur were simply put under three different groups, viz, (1) Any Naga tribes, (2) Xny Kuki tribes and (3) Any Mizo (Lushai) tribes as an interim arrangement.

However, with the completion of necessary surveys and the process of reorganisation of tribes of Manipur in 1956, all the tribes under the Any Naga and Any Kuki tribes were duly recognised and listed as separate Scheduled Tribes each on the basis of their respective own distinct language/dialect, culture and identity.

The terms 'Any Naga tribes' and 'Any Kuki Tribes' were then deleted and had since ceased to exist, however the Any Mizo (Lushai) tribes remained as it was by virtue of it being a one/single-language tribe.

Further claiming that on April 24, 1991, Kuki National Assembly, North East India, issued a strongly-worded objection to the proposal for recognition of Kuki tribe (Any Kuki tribe) by the State Government, it maintained that creation of Any Kuki tribes in 2002 through 'secretive mischievous manoeuvres' by a group of some vested interest individuals from within Thadou community was a great blunder that only needed to be corrected by way of deleting it.

Changing or renaming Any Kuki tribes to Kuki tribe or addition of Kuki tribe in the list of recognised Scheduled Tribes will be a much bigger mistake that will have irreparable harmful implications on the people of Manipur, the Thadou organisation highlighted.

Saying that the 'Any Kuki tribes' needs to be deleted and Kuki should not be added to the list of Scheduled Tribes under any circumstances as it will provide a pathway for outsiders to infiltrate into Manipur, the Thadou Inpi maintained that the risk of Any Kuki tribes or Kuki tribe being exploited by non-native people cannot be over emphasised.

"According to Article 342 of the Constitution and the National Commission for Scheduled Tribes a group of people/community can be recognised as a Tribe, only if they have distinct cultures, dialects and economic pursuits in different ecological settings," the TI-GHqs said.

Asking on what rationale is the Government trying to recognise Kuki as a separate tribe as recognising Kuki as a Scheduled Tribe is unconstitutional, the statement further asked who are these so-called Kuki tribe or people that are going to be Kuki tribe.

Thadou Inpi is not against recognition of a new tribe where it is due and where there is a genuine case by a genuine tribe meeting the criteria for tribe recognition, it said and added Thadou Inpi, however, will firmly oppose any demand or move for recognition of a duplicate or fake tribe will never compromise on Thadou tribe and Thadou identity, dialect/language and culture for creation of a new tribe regardless of the name.

Advising the Government to immediately cancel the process of recommending addition of Kuki in the ST list of Manipur, the Thadou Inpi asked the Government to take responsibility for any eventuality arising out of this issue.

The stance of Thadou Inpi on this matter is non-negotiable, it asserted.

The memorandum was also submitted to MLA TD Minister Vungzagin Valte and TD Hills Secretary.


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