TODAY -

Of FMR scrapping, fencing border : Indigenous call for NRC
- The Sangai Express Editorial :: July 04, 2024 -



Giving substance and meaning to the decision to scrap the Free Movement Regime (FMR) as well as the stand to fence the Indo-Myanmar border and these two points should be understood as the wheel turning around the axis of the call to implement the National Register of Citizens with 1951 as the base year.

The Nagas may have expressed their reservation against the decision to do away with FMR but the reality should be kept in mind and this should be all that clearer with the United Naga Council (UNC) and the Co-ordinating Committee on Manipur Integrity (COCOMI) jointly submitting a memorandum to the Prime Minister through Governor Anusuiya Uikey on July 2, 2024 calling for the implementation of the National Register of Citizens (NRC) in Manipur.

Other than the ongoing ethnic clash between the Meiteis and the Kukis, the undesirable offshoot of the large scale influx from across the border down the decades should also be understood against the Naga-Kuki clash in 1992/93 and which stretched on for full five years.

It was with a reason why the United Naga Council (UNC) had then served quit notices on Kuki villages which they claim were set up furtively down the years on the ancestral lands of the Nagas and what followed after that is there for history to record and keep.

One should understand why the Kukis, under the aegis of the Kuki Inpi, Manipur continued to observe the Kuki Black Day every year on September 13 down the years and gave it a miss only in 2023 when the Meitei-Kuki clash was at its peak.

There is a history behind the call to implement the NRC in Manipur and it is heartening to note that the Governor appeared to have accepted the memorandum submitted to her office to be forwarded to the Prime Minister with the words that the matter has been discussed with President Droupadi Murmu, Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman and Union Home Minister Amit Shah.

Significant these words are, and in more than one ways these words can be seen to be a logical extension of the decision to scrap the FMR and fence the Indo-Myanmar border.

As repeatedly pointed out in this very column, the question of large scale influx from across the border needs to be seen beyond the military coup of 2021 in Myanmar as well as the civil war that has erupted between Government forces and the rebel outfits.

In fact the question of infiltration from across the border should go back decades with infiltrations in large numbers on record in 1967/68 and the democratic uprising in Myanmar in 1988.

Not unexpectedly the UNC and COCOMI have given detailed break up of the number of Kuki villages which have sprung up across the hill districts including Chandel, Tengnoupal, Kangpokpi, Churachandpur and Pherzawl from 1950 to 2011.

New Delhi should take note of this and acknowledge the reality that the Kuki-Zo MLAs today have as many as Naga MLAs in the House of 60, while it was different decades back.

Abnormal growth is the term that comes to mind and while the Kukis may not acknowledge the statistics spelt out by the UNC and COCOMI, it was a Kuki gentleman, a certain Paolienlal Haokip, who himself highlighted that around 20,000 Kukis entered Manipur in 1967, when General Ne Win during the Burmanisation programme, gave them marching orders with a deadline of 48 hours.

Another evacuation drive was enforced in 1988, wrote Mr Haokip and this article still stands with the Institute of Peace and Conflict Studies, an article written back in May of 2002.

Amongst the refugees of 1967 many took to drugs and arms trafficking, wrote Mr Haokip and fast forward to 2024 and there is nothing much to suggest that things have changed if one takes a look at the profile of those arrested smuggling drugs and arms as well as the areas where poppy plantation is rampant.

The NRC stand of UNC and COCOMI is not the stand of just two organisations but is the collective stand of all indigenous folks of the land and Prime Minister Narendra Modi must take note of these bare facts, especially in the backdrop of the fact that situation has come to such a pass that non-indigenes, many of who could be infiltrators, have raised the demand for a Separate Administration.



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