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
  • Interaction with Steelheart @Imphal: Gallery
  • Selected Candidates to Global Shapers
  • Assam Rifles Ex-servicemen Rally
  • Paying tribute to our martyred forefathers
  • Death penalty for child rapists
  • TRAU Vs Bengaluru FC #1 : Gallery
  • Battle of Khongjhom :: Read about it
  • Ending Plastic Pollution- Earth Day 2018
  • Interaction with Steelheart in Imphal
  • Yet I have hopes and dreams - fancy
  • Seminar @ DM College : Atomic Energy ..
  • Lai Haraoba at Loktak Power Station
  • Teinem Luira Phanit #2: Gallery
  • Governor's Polo (Men) : Gallery
  • World Earth Day 2018
  • Edge of self determination #2
  • Save Meetei & other indigenous people
  • Nirmala Chongtham @ Bamboo Congress
  • Public Relations Day at Loktak
  • Naga Peace Process :: News Timeline
  • Songs of the dark days
  • On cease work strike since March 22
  • Kang Amomgi Tentha : Funga Wari
  • Eyek Tamba :: Learn Manipuri script
  • Piulong khul & Bunning Wildlife Sanctuary
  • The guy in the waiting list
  • Turmeric in beauty care
  • Crisis ahead; this is more dangerous
  • Gearing up for Shirui Lily Fest
  • Do not gag voice of opposition: NPF
  • Garlic Festival @ Ukhrul #1 : Gallery
  • Misplaced Agenda of our CSOs
  • Aribam Devabrata's Mime Play "Kangla Gate"
  • Edge of self determination #1
  • Vardhaman Mahaveer, his life & Jainism
  • Annual General Body meeting of STDCM
  • Land of thousand heroes
  • Present lull before the storm ?
  • Naorem Kalimohon Singh : A Profile
  • Floral tributes to PLA members #2 : Gallery
  • May I tie the knot with a Muslim woman ?
  • Quiz Competition at DM College
  • Cyber warfare: Estonia attack
  • Discussion : South China Sea Disputes
  • The Readers :: Book Discount @MU
  • Democracy: Is the countrymen listening?
  • From Nobap to the top stage
  • Cheiraoba Thabal by LGBTQ #1 : Gallery
  • Cheiraoba @ Kolkata : Gallery
  • Manipuri speaking diaspora in Assam
  • Mangginlian, Lalromawi :: eMing
  • Lomba: best garnish for Yongchak iromba
  • Modern civilisation in Manipur revisited
  • Earning the real good time
  • Meghalaya to consider implementation of ILP
  • NE girls held in Raipur for alleged sex trade
  • Pushing NH-37 to the back burner
  • Cheiraoba Chak Katpa [14 Apr] : Gallery
  • Brajabashimayum Gopal : Akademi Award
  • EEVFAM vs UoI case at Supreme Court
  • Litmus test for Mizoram
  • The present trend of our educational system
  • The rift between parents & children
  • Everything to know about Dermaplaning
  • A heady affair
  • Raped and defiled : India's shame
  • Leima Jagoi @ JNMDA Day: Gallery
  • Right to Religion is a fundamental right
  • Who are Meeteis
  • Meeting of Manipur photography Club
  • Dynamic Manipur's committee for 2018-20
  • BJP's Booth Level Training at Patsoi
  • Sexual violence against women
  • Yaoshang Halankar #2 : Gallery
  • TRAU Vs Mohammedan #2 : Gallery
  • Black sheep in ILPS movement #2
  • SC / HC verdict on Merger Agreement
  • How to practice homoeopathy
  • Sonowal's gesture to Assam journalists
  • Floral tributes to PLA members #1 : Gallery
  • Sikkim University Prospectus : Download
  • Schools are fine, colleges are not
  • The Deceptive Appearance :: Poem
  • Sports for peace and development
  • On organizing Thabal Chongba in Delhi
  • People's bishop gets Bharat Gaurav Award
  • Inner Line Permit (ILP) Demand :: Timeline
  • Banning the Bandh
  • A strong Opposition is healthy
  • Yangkhulen (57 Km from Maram) : Gallery
  • Statehood Women's Polo #2 : Gallery
  • An autobiography of MK Priyobarta
  • Lamkoi Shirui Camp 2.0 at Ukhrul
  • RIST Talk -35 @MU : Thermal plasma
  • Police Harassment of Human Rights Activist
  • Favouritism of PDA Govt is shameful
  • Where the mind is without fear
  • End authoritarian rule call of Cong
  • 'HUN' Thadou Cultural Festival #1 : Gallery
  • Kabui Dance @JNMDA : Gallery
  • Gangmei Aluna Kabuini : Nrityabhusan
  • Good & bad of Nung hawai consumption
  • Sadar Hills District Demand :: Timeline
  • Meitei - Scheduled Tribe ?
  • Career options after graduation
  • Food safety concerns
  • Response to Rijiju: Stand off on sovereignty
  • Two Princes :: Funga Wari
  • Yaoshang Sport @Bamon Leikai: Gallery
  • Armed Force (Special Power) Act 1958 #3
  • Cry of a Dying River - 25 :: Poem
  • Centre for Vietnam Studies, New Delhi
  • Leingakki Firem Handoktriphaoba..
  • Seeking report on Thoungamba's death
  • 3rd Northeast Fiesta 2018 : Event Report
  • Traffic: Still yet to find a lasting solution
  • From Go to Hills to Go to Village
  • Md Awaysh Khan: Mr. India : Gallery
  • Horizon : An Exhaustive Review
  • Is Delhi serious to resolve Naga issue?
  • JRF position wanted at Manipur University
  • Dams & hydropower push in Himalayas
  • Can satan encourage hard work ?
  • DGP distributed DG Commendation Discs
  • Of attack and threat to common men
  • Ruling out sovereignty, integration
  • Folk Dance @Retreat ceremony #4: Gallery
  • The entry of Gorkha in Manipur
  • Khelen Thokchom, some fond memories
  • The Singing Stones :: Poem
  • 109 Bn, CRPF celebrated 28th Raising day
  • Swarajya Magazine tender apology
  • Cheiraoba Chak Katpa #2 : Gallery
  • Women Final: Governor Polo #2 : Gallery
  • Air pollution is an invisible killer
  • Manipur as part of India during Krishna
  • Global Shapers is calling for Application
  • Heart OPD & Free Echo Screening Camp
  • Winter School 2018 at NEHU concluded
  • On forged cheque issue: Pandora Box
  • Accounting for two of 4 won so far
  • Mahesh Thounaojam #2 : eRang Photos
  • TRAU Vs Mohammedan #1 : Gallery
  • Science of stink: Dealing with odour
  • Time lost cost in cyber crime: IGI Airport
  • BJP Patsoi : 38th Foundation Day
  • The making of sports powerhouse
  • Rape in the land of Meira Paibis
  • Kamo Hau Culturals @Kamjong: Gallery
  • Armed Force (Special Power) Act 1958 #2
  • Cry of a Dying River - 24 :: Poem
  • Tribute to Khelen Thokchom
  • Last of his ilk
  • Open letter to Jaideep Majumdar- Swarajya
  • Effort to make our leader understand
  • RIMS road heist : Daylight robbery
  • Major Bob Ralengnao Khathing
  • Pung Chollom @JNMDA : Gallery
  • Mnipur Ima :: Seireng
  • Kou-kha : Wetland tuber cash crop
  • Jobs at Don Bosco Tech Society
  • NPF replies to news portal report
  • The Killing Fields (2013-17) :: Timeline
  • Prohibition against peoples' will
  • Congress in its avatar as an Oppn
  • Mukna Khong Kangjei #2: Gallery
  • Partnerships should be based on solidarity
  • Volunteers for Green Khamasom (VGK)
  • Social media: Boon or medium to hurt..
  • A requiem for Ta Khelen
  • Northeast Fiesta 2018 at Jalandhar, Punjab
  • Jobs @ PR Enterprises, Khurai
  • Vegetables grown @Thanga #2: Gallery
  • Khaidem Tarubi :: Akademi Awards
  • Angaobi :: Poem
  • A cocktail of mythology, science & religion
  • Beauty benefits of tomatoes
  • Condolence message for Khelen Thokchom
  • Communal politics in social media
  • RIP Tamo Khelen .. always in our heart
  • Blank Editorial
  • Tributes to Khelen Thokchom : Gallery
  • Men Final: Governor Polo #1 : Gallery
  • Armed Force (Special Power) Act 1958 #1
  • Scientific Perspective: Biren's speech
  • Ukhrul Sanitary Movement & social evil
  • JFA express grief at Thokchom's demise
  • Yaoshang Nakatheng Chatpa #3 : Gallery
  • April Calendar for Year 2018 :: Tools
  • Thangjiyen: Culinary item during Cheiraoba
  • Nongthombam Biren hasn't a clue
  • Easter: A moment of reorganization
  • A Spark of My Poem :: Poem
  • Asian solidarity on the Rohingya crisis
  • The blunder in Indian Political system
  • Respecting the essence of Good Friday
  • Folk Dance @Retreat ceremony #3: Gallery
  • Sajibu Cheiraoba Chingkaba #3: Gallery
  • Dr. Athouba honored Hindi Sevi Pracharak
  • Women Final: Governor Polo #1 : Gallery
  • Ringui Luira Phanit @Ukhrul : Gallery
  • Landscape from Koubru #1 : Gallery
  • Yaoshang Sport - Marathon #2: Gallery
  • PM at Science Congress @MU #2: Gallery
  • Lui-Ngai-Ni @Longmai (TML) #5 : Gallery
  • Sanakhya Ebotombi Haorokcham: Biography
  • PM Narendra Modi @Imphal #2 : Gallery
  • Sajibu Cheiraoba Chingkaba #2: Gallery
  • Enakta Leiringei (Film) #2 :: eRang
  • Yaoshang Cooking Contest #2 : Gallery
  • Front Page Photo 2018 #1: Gallery
  • Temples of Manipur : Gallery
  • Recipients of Akademi Awards for 2014
  • Old Manipuri Movie #1 :: eRang Classic
  • SPONSORED ADS