TODAY -

Forcing to fight a losing battle
- The People's Chronicle Editorial :: December 01, 2023 -



FROM releasing of the diglot edition of Constitution of India in Manipuri language (Meetei Mayek script) to unveiling of the crest of Indian Navy's stealth guided missile destroyer "Imphal", which has been named after the state capital of Manipur, and then signing of a peace deal between the Government of India and a prominent armed insurgent group of Manipur...So many important developments have taken place in the last few days that the violent conflict between the Meetei/Meitei and Kuki-Chin communities which has been going on since May 3 in the tiny northeastern Indian state of Manipur seems to have been pushed into the background so much so that the nation-wide rally which was supposedly taken out under the aegis of Zo United, a parent body for all Kuki-Zo tribes in Manipur, on Wednesday to press the demand for a separate administration for Kuki-Chin people, failed to make an impact.

The nation-wide rally was proposed in at least 12 locations including 12 states/cities, namely, Chennai, Delhi, Assam, Kolkata, Bangalore, Mumbai, Chandigarh, Jharkhand, Manipur, Meghalaya, Tripura and Mizoram; but apart from one common media report which stated that "thousands of people marched in nine towns, cities and 17 different villages across the country" there is nothing to suggest or indicate on the ground that the rally was successful even in hill areas inhabited by Kuki-Chin people, with the exception of Churachandpur and Kangpokpi district headquarters.

This is a quite a change from such rallies and protest events carried out in the past.

In fact, inability of the Kuki-Chin people, to converge and take out rally this time in the border town of Moreh, where law and order situation has improved considerably following deployment of adequate security personnel says a lot more than one could understand of the undue pressure being exerted by leaders of Kuki-Chin community to meet their demand for a separate administration, which is untenable in a multi-ethnic society.

Of course, the state administration of Manipur had given strong instruction in advance to all the Superintendents.of Police (SPs) not to allow the rally without the permission from the district administration concerned and also for putting in place all necessary security arrangements as pre-emptive measures for any eventuality in even valley areas adjoining the hill districts.

But more than the security measures, the warning issued by some Naga bodies against taking out the rally or organising any form of agitation within their jurisdiction on matters relating to the ongoing ethnic conflict between the Meetei/Meitei and Kuki-Chin communities in Manipur must have dented the enthusiasm and confidence of the Kuki-Chin leaders.

This was quite a let-down specially after the Kuki-Chin leaders, more particularly, the apex bodies of Kuki, Hmar and Zo tribes, all unanimously extended their support and solidarity to the rally organised by United Naga Council (UNC) demanding resolution of the decades-old Naga political issue in the past.

Nagas have always maintained neutrality in the ongoing conflict right from the beginning.

But the desperation of Kuki-Chin leaders to win the support of Nagas in their favour is such that they even broke their tradition of hoisting black flags and wearing black cloths on the occasion of Kuki Black Day, which is observed on September 13 every year to mourn the Kuki civilians killed in 1993 by Naga militants allegedly belonging to National Socialist Council of Nagaland (Isak-Muivah).

But the Nagas were wiser and turned down the olive branch offered by the Kukis in the name of tribal solidarity.

Now, with all the attempts of garnering support from fellow tribal communities falling flat and the false narratives spun for pushing the demand for a separate administration falling apart, Kuki-Chin leaders, who are now increasingly feeling the heat of the fire they ignited slyly, have to do some serious explanation to their own people who have been forced to fight a losing battle and made to suffer.



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