The genesis of Naga-Kuki clash in early nineties

Dr Nelson Vashum *

Celebrating an ugly past is unbecoming of people who follow Jesus Christ – the prince of peace. It is just the opposite of charity for all and malice towards none. Naga-Kuki clash in the early nineties would be very unpleasant and obnoxious for any sensible person. The conflicts were blatant displays of satanic influence overpowering the Christian faith of both sides.

If I may quote Rev. Adeyeimo of Africa, the conflicts proved that our Christianity then was only one inch deep though a kilometer long. A lot of good and holy professings on the mouth but the hands were hell-bent for crimes. It started like a spark in Chandel district in 1992 and in no time cries for blood reached its zenith. Human right abuses of the worst kinds heard and seen all over the hill districts.

Brutalities committed by both sides were beyond fair descriptions. The worst was a bus proceeding to Tamenglong was pushed down a cliff with Naga passengers inside by KDF. For many years I restrained myself not to let the following informations come to public domain.

However, repeated and hysterical celebrations of Black Day on the 13th September every year compelled me to lay bare the genesis of Naga-Kuki clash as I knew then and remember now. By the way I was collecting informations on human right abuses committed by the Indian army, NSCN (IM) and NSCN (K) for some organizations – national and international from 1988 to 1995.

As Naga-Kuki clash was unfolding concurrently, my scope was widened and to my fortune all came tumbling in my way. However, I passed on faithfully all the informations to the concerned organizations. My present informations are retrievals from my recollective closet and therefore, I beg the pardon of all for missing the dates, month, year and name of some persons. However, the factual informations can be confirmed through RTI – if only the archives of the states in question and government of India are truthful.

The sequence of the genesis of Naga-Kuki conflict:

1. 1989, some time in March Kuki National Assembly (KNA) circulated information to all Kuki headman to stop payment of land taxes to leaser Naga villages and at the same time not to sell any landed property to the Nagas.

2. Most importantly at the same time, a memorandum was submitted to Mr. Buta Singh, Home Minister of India. In the memorandum, the KNA vowed that Kuki community would subdue the Naga independent movement in 5 (five) years which the government of India failed to achieve in 40 years. In the same memorandum arms and money were sought for urgently. The memorandum was signed by late Major P. Kipgen as general secretary and president, KNA.

3. A colonel of Indian Army whose wife was my patient invited my family to come to Leimakhong Army Camp. One Sunday in July 1990, I went with my family to Leimakhong Army camp and spent some leisure hours with the colonel’s family. Taking me aside for a private talk, the colonel revealed to me that under the initiative of Defence Ministry, a batch of 250 Kuki youngsters were being trained for self defence and the band was named as Kuki Defence Force (KDF). The purpose was not informed to the trainers, but on their own they elicited informations under liquor. Some bluntly came out with intent to fight with NSCN (IM) and Tangkhuls.

4. In 1989/90, Mr. S.C. Jamir, Chief Minister of Nagaland sent a special team to Manipur to incite the Kukis and Meiteis to precipitate communal clash against the Tangkhuls. The secret team started working in Manipur from the month of February the same year and completed by September 1989/90. Some officials of RAW and secret agents of Mr. S.C. Jamir under the command of Col. Joy Singh celebrated the completion of the mission in the Inspection Bungalow, Bishnupur.

Col. Joy Singh inebriated under alcohol molested the daughter of chawkidar of the Inspection Bungalow. The next morning the women folks of Bishnupur encircled the bungalow demanding justice. The local police stepped in to settle the issue. Col. Joy Singh, identified himself and produced a letter of endorsement which ran: I am directed by Mr. S.C. Jamir, Chief Minister of Nagaland to endorse the following four persons under the command of Col. Joy Singh for a special mission in Manipur. Unstinted support given for conveyance, security and logistics will be highly appreciated. Signed by TCK Lotha, IAS, Chief Secretary, government of Nagaland. One police personnel posted at Bishnupur informed to me the details of Col. Joy Singh and his team and the purpose of the mission.

I expected a hue and cry the following days. But the government of Manipur, under late R.K. Dorendra as Chief Minister and Mr. C. Doungel as Finance Minister were already well-tuned for the heinous crimes laid out by the government of India.

Hence all hushed up! Even the press kept out of the issue. All I could do was to apprise the Human Rights watch groups.

5. Mr. S.C. Jamir, Chief Minister of Nagaland, took full patronage of NSCN (K) in early nineties and played against the NSCN (IM) and Tangkhul civilians in Nagaland. Many Tangkhul students, travelers, government servants etc. were mercilessly killed. Even clergies were not spared. The involvement of Mr. S.C. Jamir was inferred from two sources.

I. Mr. Chamanlal was the DGP of Nagaland. A student group approached him for better security coverage. He confessed his limitations but promised the best possible efforts. At the same time the DGP bluntly came out against the Naga Legislators for making a thug – the Chief Minister of Nagaland.

II. One Col. Chaudhury visited Talui village on Christmas Day of 2004. He was posted at Talui Army Camp in seventies as a captain. During our discussions, he revealed confidently that NSCN (K) was no less than private army of Mr. S.C. Jamir. Most of nineties Col. Chaudhury was in Nagaland, and he knew the ugly truth very well.

6. Mr. Nehlun Haokip was the Commander-in-chief of KDF. He went and met the then Army Chief of India, Gen. Rodrigue in Delhi and in his poorly framed press release spilt the beans of the government of India helping the KDF to fight the Nagas. Arms and money in the pipeline. It was some time in July/August 1992. It was a blunder mistake for Nehlun Haokip. He was later executed within a few months of his revelation.

Now putting all these information, even a simpleton can frame a simple and straight inference that the Naga-Kuki conflict was maliciously planned and precipitated by the Kukis under the malevolent nudging of the government of India. The government of Nagaland and Manipur jointly abetted to execute the crimes.

After the Naga-Kuki conflicts, the armed Kuki youngsters could not suppress their thirst for blood, and as a result protracted conflicts between Zous and Kukis followed. A Kuki lady officer confided to me once that she was thoroughly emotionally and financially drained dropping and burying a dead body almost every day. Who killed more Kukis – Nagas or Zous? I have no headcounts.

Everybody knew many lives destroyed for meaningless cause.

It is good to own the crimes and heal the strained human relation. One can cheat and fool man all the time but not God – the true judge of all. Let us learn to celebrate and applause what is good and honourable. Let us learn to make peace; for the peacemakers will be called the children of God (Matt 5:9). Let us stop bothering for the Black Day. Let us pursue peace and celebrate peace.

* Dr Nelson Vashum wrote this article for The Sangai Express
The writer is Chairman of CHSRC, Hamleikhong Hungpung, Ukhrul District
This article was webcasted on September 30, 2018.

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