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
  • Hangmila Shaiza: First Woman MLA
  • 'The Wishess' @Tanglei Festival :: Gallery
  • Cheiraoba : Great festival of the Meiteis
  • Stop Saying-Manipur not have resources
  • JRF position at Pachhunga Univ, Aizawl
  • Governor Cup Polo Tournament Concluded
  • Inner Line Permit (ILP) Demand :: Timeline
  • Solar Lights presented to Longdi Pabram
  • Understand history to resolve issues of NE
  • Rise in crime worries citizens
  • Mary Kom eyes comeback at Asian C'ship
  • Reaching out to the Naga community
  • Towards sustainable self-reliance
  • Mix Media Festival #3:: Gallery
  • Khurumjei eethou eekan :: Radio e-pao
  • Shaheed Manoranjan football :: Gallery
  • Birth Anniversary of Maharani Dhanamnjuri
  • Buddha advised to follow the moderate way
  • A hope of second meeting with dear mum
  • Sadar Hills Demand 2011-2017 : Timeline
  • Killing Culture in Manipur
  • Lingering allure of lotus after polls
  • 30 mn trafficking victims worldwide: CJ
  • Tough for some to be out of news
  • Manipur Sangai Festival 2016 #3 : Ooba
  • Yaoshang Sports #3 (Mar 16) :: Gallery
  • Eyek Tamba :: Learn Manipuri script
  • Glimpses of Puppets in India
  • NE important part of 2nd World War
  • Strategic place branding of Manipur
  • Non-biodegradable solid wastes mgmt
  • Skill oriented vocational training
  • Indo-Naga Talks 2017 :: News Timeline
  • No pact on integration of Naga areas
  • Nobody is a fool, introduce Lok Ayukta
  • Khoupum Valley Expedition #5:: Gallery
  • 36th World TB day Rally :: Gallery
  • Veteran Cricket Tournament :: Gallery
  • And thus she became a fast learner
  • Coalition Government & its periphery
  • Know your test: Uric acid
  • No compromise on territorial integrity
  • Ten meritorious students sponsored
  • Anti Corruption Cell to be set up
  • Centre, State: Put RIMS back on track
  • Minister promise on Imphal Jiribam road
  • Students for HSLC Exam :: Gallery
  • Governor Cup Polo tournament #1:: Gallery
  • Blast of Md Kora & his shadows
  • A Drunken Dream :: Poem
  • Downfall of Congress party in Manipur
  • Corruption a part and parcel in our society
  • Hangkhanlian, Radheshyam, Nemcha ...
  • Lecture on TS. Eliot's contribution
  • Naga integration via FA: Game of word play
  • Almost perfect team...missing "Lok Ayukta"
  • Miss Manipur Queen 2017 #2 : Gallery
  • Yangkholet, Somatai, Mangaleima :: eMing
  • N Biren sworn-in CM #3 :: Gallery
  • Lanmei Thanbi Re-imagining the Light Spirit
  • Did we glorify the UNC highway blockade?
  • Career penchant in Anthropology
  • The formation of new BJP-led Government
  • The Killing Fields :: News Timeline
  • Nagas safe under Framework : NSCN-IM
  • New fish species discovered in Assam
  • Making Manipur bandh & blockade free: Guv
  • Politicking the politics
  • Photo : Governor with all Elected MLAs
  • Day 3: @ Bamon Leikai #3 : Gallery
  • Yaoshang Day 3 activities #2 : Gallery
  • Kanchan Soibam in Femina Miss India 2017
  • RIST talk 28-Transition in amorphous solid
  • Formation of Gender Champions @RGU
  • Free spectacle distribution at Loktak Station
  • Naga history of transition stands unique
  • Delhi warn NE against shady land deals
  • Screen kids' films in NE languages
  • Looking at the pre-poll promises of BJP
  • State govt- perceptions & premonitions
  • MLAs took oath of office : Gallery
  • SundarGopal Condolence @Ghy : Gallery
  • Yaoshang Thabal at Pune #2 :: Gallery
  • Yaoshang: Journalist Sports #2 :: Gallery
  • What Term of Negotiation btn GoM & UNC?
  • Class 12 marks may decide your college..
  • N. Biren led Govt won the floor test
  • Job @ VK NRL Hospital at Numaligarh
  • Cycling from Jessami to Mantripukhri
  • Lifting the longest ever blockade
  • Hope amid the hesitations
  • Tenwa Chandrasakhi :: Funga wari
  • Yaoshang Day 5: Sports #2: Gallery
  • Day 3: Yaoshang activities #1 : Gallery
  • Day 3: @ Bamon Leikai #2 : Gallery
  • Drinking bottled mineral water culture
  • Condolence meeting for friend of Assam
  • Food Outlet at DM Community College
  • APFEJ urges Delhi to be respectful to media
  • TSA Ceremonial Rite to its Former SG
  • Statistics not telling the whole story
  • Kangleipak Kang Trophy #1 : Gallery
  • Day 5: Yaoshang Activities #4: Gallery
  • N Biren sworn-in CM #2 :: Gallery
  • Insurgency as reflected in Chagi Khuji
  • Yaoshang Meithaba @Uripok: Gallery
  • Women Empowerment
  • Construction as career choice
  • Condolence meeting for Sundar Gopal
  • Manipuri group to stall trains
  • Manipur State Archery Championship
  • Miss Manipur Queen 2017 #1 : Gallery
  • Yaoshang Halankar celebration : Gallery
  • 2nd phase Polling @Nungba #2 :: Gallery
  • Art of Lamangdong's stone bowls & Toupokpi
  • Yaoshang Day 1: Mei Loukhatpa #2: Gallery
  • Pabung Sunder Gopal funeral at Mandalay
  • Emotional integration of all communities
  • Training on Traditional Snacks
  • How to take along disparate parties
  • Yaoshang Day 5: Sports #1: Gallery
  • Meetei Pokpi :: Radio e-pao
  • Day 3: @ Bamon Leikai #1 : Gallery
  • Yaoshang Day 1: Mei Thaba #4: Gallery
  • Letter: Manipur Public Service Commission
  • Career as Chef
  • HQ IGAR celebrates 14th Raising Day [upd]
  • N Biren sworn-in CM #1 :: Gallery
  • Yaoshang Thabal at Pune #1 :: Gallery
  • Mix Media Art exhibition #2 :: Gallery
  • Yaoshang: Journalist Sports #1 :: Gallery
  • Nongthombam Biren sworn-in CM, Mar 15
  • Glaucoma Week : March 12 - 18, 2017
  • Annual Yaoshang Thabal 2017 at Pune
  • Course in Butterfly Studies at BNHS
  • Yaoshang- with DJ @Sekmai :: Gallery
  • Kangleipak Football Trophy 2017 :: Gallery
  • Thabal chongbagi Peisa khaiba #2:: Gallery
  • Yaoshang Day 1: Mei Thaba #3: Gallery
  • Cue card for the new Chief Minister
  • International Rivers Day at Tamenglong
  • What kind of Nagaland are we moving..
  • Yaoshang Day 1: Mei Loukhatpa #1: Gallery
  • Yaoshang Day 1: Mei Thaba #2: Gallery
  • Election: Counting & Winnners #2:: Gallery
  • Ending TB is going to be hard...
  • Holi Pala performance at Raj Bhavan
  • Archery Championship at Keithalmanbi
  • NPF to support non-Congress coalition
  • Workshop on filmmaking at MSFDS
  • Yaoshang Day 1: Mei Thaba #1: Gallery
  • Yaoshang Day 1: AMWJU Sports : Gallery
  • 2nd phase Polling @Chandel :: Gallery
  • Testing patience of Manipuris, Cong-UNC
  • Bangladesh Meetei leisabi at Sylhet
  • A Hindi tract with feminist ideals
  • Condemns decision on Sajibu Nongma
  • Churchill Brothers vs Shillong Lajong
  • Election: Counting & Winnners #1:: Gallery
  • Mamliba maikeise :: Radio e-pao
  • Saroi Khangba #3 : Gallery
  • Yaoshang :: A flash presntation
  • UNC in Manipur Electoral Politics #3
  • The Election Trap :: Poem
  • Mix Media Art exhibition #1 :: Gallery
  • Mountain Division Polo #2 : Gallery
  • MCA T20 Luwangpokpa Trophy :: Gallery
  • Possibility of hung House
  • BJP will form government in Manipur
  • Trade connection with Southeast Asia #2
  • Breast Cancer Conference :: Gallery
  • Saroi Khangba #2 : Gallery
  • 2nd phase Polling @Sora :: Gallery
  • Judgement regarding MCSCCE - 2016
  • 2nd phase Polling @Nungba #1 :: Gallery
  • Thabal chongbagi Peisa khaiba #1:: Gallery
  • Featured Photo for 2017 #1 :: Gallery
  • Exam Centers for HSE 2017 : Download
  • 'Thammoi Tahoure' : Muslims' musical
  • International Women's Day at Delhi
  • International Women's day
  • Thoubal Keithel #1 : Gallery
  • Gita-Govinda- Dance Drama #2: Gallery
  • Women's Day: Women Safety in Train
  • All eyes on 2nd phase polls
  • Not so hard verdict, but perhaps..
  • Kabui Keioiba & Lai Khutsangbi ...
  • Rahul Gandhi @Imphal #2: Gallery
  • Mountain Division Polo #1 : Gallery
  • People's Convention on FA : Gallery
  • Manipur hills as tourist destination
  • Armed Violence & Nationalism : Report
  • Saroi Khangba #1 : Gallery
  • Polling for Assembly election #2 : Gallery
  • PM Narendra Modi #3: Gallery
  • Maphou Dam :: 360 View Panorama
  • Laisram Birendra Kumar: PadmaShri Award
  • Trekking to Dzukou Valley #2: Gallery
  • Biju Ningombam (Photos) #3 :: eRang
  • Laihui @Tanglei Music Festival :: Gallery
  • Landscape of Manipur #5: Wallpaper
  • Wareppa Naba :: Profile of Theatre Actor
  • Meiteilon Folk & Tangkhul duet : Ooba
  • Khunung Eeshei/ Ema Emoinu #3 : Radio
  • SPONSORED ADS