Demand for a Kuki State
- Kuki State Demand Committee -

30 November, 2011

Demand for a Kuki State

The Kukis of Manipur, under the aegis of Kuki State Demand Committee (KSDC), staged a Mass Rally in Churachandpur on November 30, 2011. Disillusioned with the governments' long overdue denial of a 'political space'- the right to live in freedom in their ancestral lands-the Kukis took to the streets in demand of Kuki State by restoring Kuki ancestral lands for lasting peace and security in the state.

The Kukis, prior to the British colonial incursions into the region, governed ourselves under the benign and capable leadership of our Chiefs and enjoyed full freedom over our ancestral territory. Our ancestors opposed British colonial designs and resisted their advent into our ancestral land by raiding British establishments and barracks since mid seventeenth-century.

The colonial power waged war on the Kuki people from early 1917 in order to crush their resistance and subjugate their authority. Thereafter, we joined the Indian National Army (INA) to redeem our freedom, but failed owing to the defeat of the Axis powers. The British then scattered our people and territory under different administrative units and latter on split it under the Union of Burma and India.

The Kukis assert their inalienable right of self-determination by virtue of their historical consciousness and distinct nationality within a definite territory of their own since time immemorial. The Kuki people yearn for peace, justice and freedom. They want a just and dignified peace that guarantees freedom from domination, exploitation and discrimination.

Statehood for the Kukis was first made in a representation submitted by the Kuki National Assembly (KNA) to Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru, the first Prime Minister of India, in 1960. Subsequently, the Government of India accorded statehood to Nagaland in 1963, clearly favouring pro-British colonialists. Discrimination against the Kukis negates every rights and liberties enshrined in the Indian Constitution.

The quest for Kuki statehood is also founded on their demand for a rightful identity in the political firmament of the country. Therefore, Kuki State is the dream of all the peace-loving Kukis. The formation of a Kuki State based on respect for the will of people, which is long overdue, is necessary in order to achieve a lasting peaceful solution in the state. The cause for which the Kuki people are struggling is a just one, and deserves support from all those who cherish peace and justice.

It is the bounden duty of the Government of India to uphold the right of the Kukis to live as free people in their ancestral homeland, restoration to them their properties and uphold their dignity and inalienable civil and political rights. However, it is ironical that successive Governments have deliberately ignored all the aspirations, cry and demands of the Kuki people. The Kukis are deprived of their right to live in dignity and freedom as a people in their ancestral lands, and are rendered to the status of' refugees' in their own land.

The state governments have been pursuing determined policies and program, Acts and Amendments to annex Kukis' ancestral lands and infringe their rights. Some of the inapt mechanisms being espoused by the state governments vis-a-vis Kukis are being manifested in the form of:-

(i) Denial of Sadar Hills District.
(ii) Denial of Tribal Protection Under the Sixth Schedule. (Hi) Denial of the Eight Schedule.
(iv) Disparity in Development: Neglect of Tribal/Kuki Areas.
(v) Rendering Hill Areas Committee Non-functional.
(vi) Denial of Proportionate Representation.
(vii)Land Alienation and Annexation of Tribal Land through state administrative mechanisms, which is being taken up by COPTAM (Committee on Protection of Tribal Areas, Manipur).
(viii) State Government meddles with chieftains' rights to deprive them of their land.

The KSDC would like to reiterate the fact that Kukis, despite their loyalty to the nation, remain ignored by Government; for instance, besides their enormous contributions to the Indian National Army (INA) during India's freedom struggle, the armed Kuki revolutionary organizations signed SoO in 2005. Rather than initiate political dialogue with them, the Government of India, apart from continuing talks with NSCN (IM), an anti-national organisation that carried out Kuki genocide from 1992-1997, also hold talks with other Naga bodies, i.e. the United Naga Council.

Mention may be made that in the horrendous genocidal pogrom, scores numbering over 900 Kukis were killed, more than 350 villages uprooted and thousands displaced by the NSCN (IM). Curiously, while Kuki citizens of India were not adequately protected against the onslaught of NSCN (IM), the Government of India chose to engage in dialogue with the perpetrators of crime against humanity and totally ignored Kukis, who are the outright victims!

The unprecedented sacrifices and sufferings experienced by the Kuki people in terms of death and destruction, life and property over the /ears is much too great to be unrecognised. The Kukis' demand for a separate state is now entering its 51st year with firm determination in the face of unspeakable sufferings and injustices to achieve the right of self-determination within the Indian Constitution.

Against the backdrop of socio-political exploitation, political hegemony of a ethnically dominant population of the valley and exclusion, the demand for Kuki State is an expression of enduring aspirations of the Kuki people to secure themselves for successive generations to come the right to determine their own future. Their struggle to achieve the right of self-determination will not be extinguished until and unless they achieve a peaceful political settlement in the form of a Kuki State.

the Kuki State Demand Committee firmly believes that a separate state for the Kukis would provide them a political identity and a constitutionally-documented institutional space and protection within the broader territorial boundary of India. In order to guarantee the Constitutional provisions of equality, freedom, liberty and opportunity to the Kuki people as individuals and as a collective, it is imperative that they should govern their own affairs in their traditional lands, as a separate state of the Indian Union.

To this end, the Kuki State Demand Committee requests the Government of India to expedite political dialogue with the Kukis with a view to establishing lasting peace in the state.

L Varte
Information & Publicity
Kuki State Demand Committee.

* This was sent by Kuki State Demand Committee
This was webcasted on November 30 2011 .

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