By- Kaybie Chongloi
Black donned the entire Kuki inhabited area of Manipur as the 27th Sahnit Ni was observed across the globe by the Kukis today commemorating the thousands of their innocent fellows who were killed in the alleged ‘Kuki Genocide’ perpetrated by Th. Muivah led NSCN-IM in the 1990s.
The Kuki Black Day which the Kukis, a major group of tribes spread across Manipur, Assam and Nagaland also observed as ‘Sahnit Ni’ most importantly seek ‘justice’ for the more than thousands victims killed, lakhs of displaced Kuki people and hundreds of Kukis displaced villages in the alleged ethnic pogrom of the Naga militants of the National Socialist Council of Nagaland (Isak-Muivah).
For the Kukis, September 13 marks the ‘Darkest Day’ in their history as on this single day in 1993 the NSCN-IM cadres allegedly killed more than 115 innocent Kuki civilians including women and children. The horrendous pogrom that lasted for five years saw more than 350 villages burnt and thousands innocent Kuki people including women and children killed while lakhs of the Kukis were displaced.
The apex body of the Kukis, the Kuki Inpi Manipur termed the alleged mass killing of Kukis by the
NSCN-IM in the infamous Kuki Genocide of 1992-1997 as arguably one of the “bloodiest genocide in the history of modern India’ stating that September 13 is not just a symbolic date for the Kukis, it is a distinctly important date, and it is the darkest day in our history, a day with far reaching ramifications.
Black flags were seen hoisted up in all the households of the Kukis in their respective places to mark the observation of the ‘Black Day’ while donning with black clothes. Condolence and candle light service held to pay tribute to departed innocent souls, people mourn and pray for victims family, relatives and near and dear ones while seeking justice for them.
This year, owing to the pandemic COVID-19, no particular gathering to observe the Black Day was organized but people gathered in their respective Churches in the morning to mourn and offered prayers for victims and their families, relatives and near and dear ones while seeking justice following strict COVID-19 protocols.
However, as a main event, an observation of Black Day was organized at Churachandpur District where three giant monolith engraved with the thousands names of the victims was erected under the aegis of Kuki Inpi Manipur.
On the sideline of the observation, the apex body of the Kukis, KIM said that today, the 13th of September, 2020, marks the 27th Anniversary of the deplorable massacre of our people in Manipur at the hands of the NSCN-IM and their proxy – the Naga Lim Guards and equally deplorable is that due to the apathetic attitude of the concerned authorities – the state and the central Government, justice is still elusive till date, for all the victims of the ethnic cleansing campaign, whose only crime was that they were Kukis.
Forty eight years after the World said “Never Again” to the horrors of the genocide in response to the Holocaust, the Joupi Massacre took place in Tamenglong District, Manipur. The Joupi massacre, were truly scenes from hell, written on the darkest pages of our history – 13 September 1993. It was one of unspeakable horror in which 88 innocent Kukis were slaughtered like animals. The unbridled brutality in the Joupi massacre was one of primordial savagery never witnessed or heard before. Another 20 innocent Kukis, 13 from Gelnel, 4 from Santing and 3 from Nungthut were also obliterated on same day, bringing the day’s total head count to 108, it added.
A perfect example of the state administration’s helplessness and paralysis was the September 13 massacre of the Kukis. The Central and the State Governments then were equally culpable, for their utter failure to protect the lives and the security of the Kukis. The failure on the part of successive central and state Governments hitherto, to deliver justice to the victims makes them equally responsible for the same, it further added.
KIM also said that the NSCN–IM led Kuki Genocide was in complete contravention of the preamble to the Constitution, the Article 21- Right to Life and personal liberty (a fundamental right ) and Article 31 Right to property (a constitutional right), along with the Article 38, Article 39A, Article 142, enshrined in the Constitution of India.
The failure on the part of the Union Government to recognize the Kuki Genocide is in complete violation of the UNO Convention on the prevention and punishment of the Crime of Genocide, which it had signed on the 29th of November, 1949. The injudicious approach and attitude of the Indian Government towards the killings of thousands of Kukis in the infamy Kuki Genocide of 1992-1997, is clearly reflected in the fact that more than two decades have passed since, but no one has ever been charged or indicted for this sordid crime against humanity.
It is clear that the Kuki Genocide was not initiated and put an end to in one single day. It is very much alive as far as both the Governments at the Centre and the State refuses to acknowledge it, and continues its policy of utter denial. We are convinced that the denial of a crime constitutes the direct continuation of that very crime. Only recognition and condemnation can prevent repetition of such crimes in the future. The lackadaisical attitude adopted by the Central Government raises one very relevant question – Are the Kukis expendable!!??
Today, we stand on the threshold of the 27th anniversary of the Kuki Genocide. This can afford the perpetrators – the NSCN (IM) a good chance to repent, and to set aside the historical stigma in case if they make efforts to set free their organization from this heavy blood soaked / blood stained burden. 27 years is short or long depending on where you stand but there is no justification for false moral equivalence. The passage of time should not obscure the facts, lessen responsibility, or turn victims into villains, it said.
KIM further said that on the 27th Anniversary of Sahnit Ni/Kuki Black Day, the Kukis, renew our pledge today that – we will continue to solemnly observe Sahnit Ni / Kuki Black Day –Remembrance Day, as we have been doing for the preceding years. We will continue to pay our respects & tributes to the victims, both dead and living, and salute the unbreakable spirit of our people to which we owe the survival and the renewal of our community/of our nation. We will continue to cry out and be the voices of our brethren who were brutally killed, we will continue our fight against injustice and oppression with a renewed fervour and resolve, we will continue to do so unless and until justice is duly served to the victims of the Kuki Genocide and we will remember our deaths. For remembrance is the most powerful weapon against Genocide!
Earlier, KIM also mailed a representation to the Prime Minister appealing the PMO office and his good self in connection with the solemn occasion appraising for justice for the victims of the Kuki Genocide and also for honourable political settlement for the Kukis within the purview of the constitution.