TODAY -

A cauldron of competing demands

Nehginpao Kipgen *

The proposed map of 'Kuki State' covering more than half of Manipur's territory spread over five hill districts
The proposed map of 'Kuki State' covering more than half of Manipur's territory spread over five hill districts :: pix - TSE



With Manipur's Kuki groups again in protest mode, it is time to ask why the Centre ignores their calls for a dialogue but talks to Nagas

Manipur, with a population of over 2.7 million, is home to three major groups: Kuki, Naga, and Meitei. While Meiteis, primarily settled in the four valley districts want territorial integrity of the State to be maintained, Kukis and Nagas are calling for separate administrative arrangements in the hill areas Kukis for a Kukiland and Nagas to join a greater Nagaland.

Identity is a major point of conflict between Kukis and Nagas. In the process of identity formation, a number of tribes, including Anal, Maring, Monsang and Moyon, have been assimilated into the Naga fold either by coercion or by other forms of persuasion. Another major point of conflict is land.

Ethnic violence from 1992 to 1997 between the two ethnic groups resulted in the death of over 1,000 people, destruction of thousands of homes, and the displacement of tens of thousands of people. While the physical violence has ceased, tensions still linger. The simmering tension has led to different forms of agitation, claims and counterclaims.

The conflict started between Thadou and Maring tribes, both recognised as Kuki during the British colonial administration. While the casualty on the Naga side is unclear, the Kuki Inpi Manipur (KIM), apex civil body of the Kuki people in Manipur, claims that over 961 Kukis were killed, 360 villages affected, and 100,000 people rendered homeless.

The biggest bone of contention is land. The Kuki National Front (KNF), later joined by the Kuki National Organisation (KNO), is demanding that a Kukiland be carved out of the five hill districts of Manipur: Churachandpur, Chandel, Senapati, Tamenglong and Ukhrul.

The demand for Kukiland is a direct challenge to the demand for greater or southern Nagaland by the National Socialist Council of Nagaland (NSCN-IM). The Naga militant outfit wants to form greater Nagaland by merging Chandel, Senapati, Tamenglong and Ukhrul with neighbouring Nagaland State.

The intention to drive out Kukis from these four hill districts led to "ethnic cleansing" by the NSCN-IM. Though the initial violence was triggered by militant outfits in Chandel district, it spread to other parts of the State, and to Nagaland and Myanmar as well.

Demands

To restore peace and normalcy, KIM has put forward two important demands to the Nagas and the Central government.

First, it wants the Nagas, especially the NSCN-IM, to formally apologise for the crimes committed in the 1990s and perform customary Kuki rites such as paying Luongman (corpse price) and Tol-theh (cleaning the house for shedding human blood).

Second, KIM wants the Central government to compensate the loss of life and property and rehabilitate the thousands of displaced.

Naga leaders, particularly the NSCN-IM, have not responded to the demands.

While Meiteis oppose the creation of either a Kuki homeland or a greater Nagaland, the Kukis and Nagas are unable to establish any kind of coordination or cooperation. This is partly due to the simmering tension in the aftermath of the 1992-1997 clashes. The wounds of past miseries are apparently yet to be healed.

The mutual distrust has reached such a point that it is difficult for civil society organisations to initiate any congenial dialogue between the two groups.

SIDELINED

It is pertinent to ask whether the government sees the conflict as an internal matter for the ethnic groups concerned to resolve among themselves or as too insignificant an issue to intervene.

While the tension lingers, the Central government is having a political dialogue with the NSCN-IM, ignoring calls by the Kuki armed groups for political dialogue despite their commitment to a Suspension of Operation agreement since 2005. It remains unclear whether this is an institutional problem on the part of the Kuki armed organisations, or another manifestation of bias toward the NSCN-IM.

The Naga demand has been alive for decades. Similarly, the Kuki National Assembly, a political body established in 1946, submitted a memorandum to Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru on March 24, 1960 demanding the immediate creation of a Kuki state comprising all the Kuki inhabited areas of Manipur.

When there are competing demands for the same geographical areas, talking with one group and sidelining the other could engender more problems.

That became apparent with the Kuki State Demand Committee (KSDC) announcing last month a series of protests including a "Quit Kukiland movement" and a call to boycott any official programme, including Republic Day.

The KSDC is demanding that the Central government begin a political dialogue with Kuki armed groups or withdraw its local authorities from Kuki inhabited areas.

The KSDC has announced a blockade of Manipur from midnight of February 24. It suspended an earlier phase of the blockade in January on an assurance from the Centre that it would begin a political dialogue with the group on their statehood demand. But such talks have not begun.

Though there seems no quick fix to the ongoing problems of the Kukis and the Nagas, it has become an issue that cannot be ignored any longer. However any attempt to achieve amicable political solution entails participation from both ethnic groups and other concerned parties, including the Central and State governments.


Nehginpao Kipgen
* Nehginpao Kipgen is general secretary of the U.S.-based Kuki International Forum. His research focuses on the politics of South and Southeast Asia. His academic article entitled "Politics of Ethnic Conflict in Manipur" focusing on the Kukis and Nagas is published in South Asia Research journal by Sage (London) in February 2013. This article was first published in The Hindu.
This article was posted on February 23 2013



* Comments posted by users in this discussion thread and other parts of this site are opinions of the individuals posting them (whose user ID is displayed alongside) and not the views of e-pao.net. We strongly recommend that users exercise responsibility, sensitivity and caution over language while writing your opinions which will be seen and read by other users. Please read a complete Guideline on using comments on this website.




LATEST IN E-PAO.NET
  • Great June Uprising @Kekrupat #2 : Gallery
  • Yoga Day: Celebrating Your Health
  • Chak-hao - black gold of Manipur
  • In response to the culture of shaming
  • 3rd Documentor Imphal
  • 4th International Day of Yoga by AR
  • Appeals for Resolution of MU Crisis
  • Recommendation to control Flood damages
  • International Yoga Day at Loktak PS
  • After Flood : Introspection about the future
  • MUSU & JAC : Hot issues before the Govt
  • Zeliangrong orphaned by Nationalism #2
  • General Thangal Eco Park : Gallery
  • Letter to President on Crisis at MU
  • Precision medicine & life sciences
  • Black topping-can ground leveling be behind
  • Condemns security force intrusion in MU
  • Developer wanted at LMP, Konjeng Leikai
  • AR gears up for International Yoga Day
  • NPF rejoinder to NDPP : 20 June
  • Rejoinder by Dr. Shurhozelie : 20 June
  • For a little bit more
  • Deadline of 5 days time set : MU crisis
  • Garlic Festival @Ukhrul #4 :: Gallery
  • Flood in Imphal [14 June] #3 : Gallery
  • Inungshi, Gaichanglungliu :: eMing
  • Taking 'Hau' Music to Rest of World
  • Kakching bags cleanest city in NE Award
  • JRF (Junior Research Fellow) at IBSD
  • Oxfam India launches emergency response
  • VC, MU - Resign immediately :: MUTA
  • Inner Line Permit (ILP) Demand :: Timeline
  • Translation of ancient Manipur texts begin
  • Pre Yoga Capsule organized
  • NDPP Rejoinder on 19 June
  • NPF Youth Wing Rejoinder on 19 June
  • Favouring digital govt : still a Virtual dream
  • June 18 Anniv : Consult all stakeholders
  • Great June Uprising @Kekrupat #1 : Gallery
  • Binota Thokchom at BRICS Young Scientist
  • The Merger of Manipur
  • Improving school management in Manipur
  • Pros & cons of screening tests
  • NPF Rejoinder on 18th June
  • Nagaland CM statement on Aboi ambush
  • June 18 significance: Still living on prayer
  • Need to identify one's strength
  • 18 Immortal Souls Remembered : Flash
  • The Great June Uprising : Read all about it
  • The Pitfalls of Identity Politics
  • Naga Peace Process :: News Timeline
  • All his sons :: Poem
  • Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, 2016
  • Eid bring cheer in flood hit areas
  • Willong Khullen, Maram #1 : Gallery
  • Eyek Tamba :: Learn Manipuri script
  • Defending the environmental defenders
  • Delusion in self - cause of worry
  • Road to Russia: FIFA World Cup
  • It must be love :: Poem
  • 'Future of Naga people is bleak'
  • Give a miss call to Amnesty
  • 'Naga area' bandh on June 18
  • Dzuko valley #4 :: 360 Panorama View
  • Flood in Imphal [14 June] #2 : Gallery
  • Id-Ul-Fitr Festival
  • Letter to PM Modi on Naga Talks
  • Greetings on Eid-Ul-Fitr
  • Rejoinder to NPF statement
  • Rejoinder to Nagaland Chief Minister
  • Flood relief continue on 3rd day
  • India-Vietnam Youth Dialogue 2018
  • MU debacle: Why would it be left unnoticed
  • Spirit of World Cup : Brazil to Russia
  • NEC to come under Home Ministry
  • Manipur NGO hosts summit on LGBTQ
  • Flood in Imphal [14 June] #1 : Gallery
  • Women Struggle in Self-Determination
  • 14 June- World Blood Donor Day
  • Naga Integration not possible- NPF react
  • Naga Integration is not possible- CM Rio
  • Relief work in flood affected areas
  • A day which keeps our spirit alive
  • Ranked 320 in the country : MU
  • Flood in Imphal [13 June] #2 : Gallery
  • Sovereignty Struggles in Northeast #5
  • Be alert: It's admission time
  • Yin and Yang
  • Watermelon beauty benefits
  • Temp accommodation for Aligarh students
  • Wrath of Mother Nature: Why challenge..
  • 60 pc is no longer first class : 95 pc
  • Flood in Imphal [13 June] #1 : Gallery
  • Sanamahi Laihui & Sanamahi Laining
  • Kuhi- Essential plant for Nungbi pottery
  • Climate justice is integral to development
  • The bridge :: Poem
  • Lt S Vijaya Devi felicitated
  • Then : Indifferent :: Now : Hyper sensitive
  • Phumdigi Tantha : Dance Drama : Gallery
  • Grief at Xavier Rutsa's demise
  • Modi's India: A descend into Ochlocracy
  • The Philippine Experience
  • Cry of a Dying River #33 :: Poem
  • Community Iftar at Moijing, Cachar
  • Candle Light at DU over Assam lynching
  • Demand replacement of Manipur Univ VC
  • The Tragedy of Higher education
  • Unacceptable points spelt out
  • Teinem Luira Phanit @Ukhrul #3: Gallery
  • RPL-PMKVY trainees @Hojai : Gallery
  • Manipur Sports University in UP ?
  • Coloniality of the Postcolonial
  • Yellow leaves in the autumn :: Poem
  • Prof N Irabanta-distinguished academician
  • Leadership matters
  • Artificial turf for budding talents
  • 2 municipal bodies in NE awarded
  • Who is Arambam Somorendra ?
  • Manglandasu Nang - OST :: e-pao Radio
  • Shirock 2018 - Shirui Lily Fest #3 : Gallery
  • Linthoi's "The Tales of Kanglei Throne" #2
  • Grass root challenge- Education in hills
  • Earth does not belong to us...
  • Sita Mata as test-tube baby
  • What happen to VIP Culture Mr. CM
  • Merchants of education
  • Laitonjam Rajnikanta : Profile
  • A blessing to see :: Poem
  • Sovereignty Struggles in Northeast #4
  • Difference between Hinduism & Hindutva
  • How to choose the perfect fragrance
  • Iftaar party at Lilong
  • Bitter truth of Manipuri society
  • MU, NSU, IGNTU : Students at the centre
  • Amuktang-Ga Haikho #1 : eRang
  • Sangai Veterans' Football #2 : Gallery
  • Pony : A Cavalry Horse Par Excellence #2
  • Issues that keep Manipur burning
  • Cry of a Dying River - 32 :: Poem
  • CM & AR interaction with villagers
  • Certification of PMKVY trainees of Hojai
  • Christian appeals for Peace in Shillong
  • How safe are our women?
  • Riders put up by JAC for talk
  • Khangkhui Cave in Ukhrul #3 : Gallery
  • Pluralism, Democracy & Ethnic Relation #2
  • Irom Sharmila meets with Mehbooba Mufti
  • JRF @ Mizoram University (Biotechnology)
  • Tobacco and heart disease
  • Understanding SOWA - RIGPA #2
  • Campaign "to End Child Sexual Abuse"
  • Implementation of 7th Pay
  • Indigenous street vendor sing gi wafam
  • The crumbling Manipur University
  • Kang Tournament @ Yaiskul : Gallery
  • Zeliangrong orphaned by Nationalism #1
  • A rainy night :: Poem
  • HSLC Exam is the start! What next?
  • 1528 cases of fake encounter
  • Linthoi's "The Tales of Kanglei Throne" #1
  • Handloom Weaver @Bishnupur : Gallery
  • Shirock 2018 - Shirui Lily Fest #2 : Gallery
  • Hinduism in Manipur : Political Perspective
  • All the World and his Wife :: Poem
  • Tribal Cultural Festival #1 : Gallery
  • Women in CCpur turn to self-help groups
  • Purul Paoki Wrestling : Gallery
  • Sangai Veterans' Football #1 : Gallery
  • Khangminashi IV (Lecture) : Report
  • Seminar at MU - Hinduism in Manipur'
  • Evolution of The Meetei State
  • Heartbreak at Ukhrul: Unfolding Shirock
  • State Level Khurpui-Lam Festival: Gallery
  • June Calendar for Year 2018 :: Tools
  • School Girls Basketball #2 : Gallery
  • Where is Manipur....???
  • 'Manipur' in Google maps : Gallery
  • The Killing Fields - 2013-18 : News Timeline
  • Mama Poktabi :: Funga Wari
  • Veterans Football Tournament #2 : Gallery
  • Shirock 2018 - Shirui Lily Fest #1 : Gallery
  • Sougrakpam Vijaya makes history sailing...
  • Arunachali unfurled Salai Taret at Mt Everest
  • Panthoiba: 2nd Rank- class XII, Uttarkhand
  • Ras Leela @JNMDA Day : Gallery
  • HSLC 208 Exam Toppers : Gallery
  • HSLC 2018 :: Toppers Listing
  • HSLC 2018 :: Check Result
  • HSLC :: Statistical/Subject Topper
  • HSLC 2018 :: External
  • Poumai Purul Hiimai Paoki #2 : Gallery
  • Kakching Garden :: 360 Panorama View
  • Folk Dance Festival #5 : Gallery
  • Aerial view from Chingmeirong : Gallery
  • Curtain Raising- Sangai Fest 2017: Gallery
  • Lainingthou Lai Lam thopka #2 : Gallery
  • Re-visiting Khangkhui caves in Ukhrul
  • Gardening @Ema Keithel #2: Gallery
  • Front Page Photo 2018 #2: Gallery
  • Pakhangba Cheng Hongba #2 : Gallery
  • Steelheart @ Shirock , Ukhrul #3 : Gallery
  • A. Halim Chowdhury: A Profile
  • Class XII Exam Toppers : Gallery
  • Class XII Result : Science Toppers
  • Class XII Result : Arts Toppers
  • Class XII Result : Commerce Toppers
  • HSE Result 2018 : District Wise
  • HSE Result 2018 : Highest Marks
  • HSE Result 2018 : Science Stream
  • HSE Result 2018 : Arts Stream
  • HSE Result 2018 : Commerce Stream
  • Temples of Manipur : Gallery
  • Recipients of Akademi Awards for 2014
  • Old Manipuri Movie #1 :: eRang Classic
  • SPONSORED ADS