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Fri, 19 Oct 2018

Northeast Today

KIM’s Strike Bring Manipur Kuki Areas to a Standstill

KIM’s Strike Bring Manipur Kuki Areas to a Standstill
August 09
11:20 2018

- NET Bureau, Kaybie Chongloi

The 24 hours total shutdown in all Kuki inhabited areas of Manipur imposed by the Kuki Inpi, the traditional Government of the Kukis, bring to a standstill the normal life especially in the hill districts of the state on Wednesday.

The total shutdown which will be enforced till Thursday morning was imposed by the Kuki Inpi as a mark of protest against the alleged inordinate delay and denial of justice by successive Governments at the centre and the state to more than 900 innocent Kuki civilians who were slaughtered, 360 Villages destroyed, and more than 1 lakh rendered homeless and displaced in the Kuki Genocide perpetrated by the NSCM-IM in the early 1990s.

Following the strict instruction of Kuki Inpi all Kuki dominated areas in Sadar Hills, Kangpokpi District come to a standstill on Wednesday from 6 am with normal life completely breaking up in the entire district. Similar incident has also been reported in all other Kuki dominated areas of Manipur disrupting traffic flow and normal functioning of business establishments, educational institutions and Government institutions.

As many as four vehicles including one Activa, two Maruti Swift Dzire and one Ford iKon car were damaged by bandh volunteers along National Highway-2 (Imphal-Dimapur) road at Gamgiphai in Kangpokpi District alleging of defying the bandh.

Bandh volunteers were seen blocking the National Highway-2 at various points with good numbers including men, women and youth of the respective areas. Some were seen burning tyres along the National Highway.

Unlike other bandhs called, Kuki Inpi total shutdown completely secluded the entire Kuki inhabited areas from all walks of life. All educational institutions in Kuki dominated areas in the district declared holiday for three days owing to the bandh after bandh. Business establishments remained completely closed for the day while Government institutions were also seen closed. Stranded vehicles and passengers were also reported in various places along the National Highways.

Exempted services like medical, media fraternity, etc. were also strictly monitored by the bandh volunteers’ along the National Highway.

Before colonialism, the Kuki people inhabited an independent and contiguous geographical territory stretching from Naga Hills and North Cachar Hills in the North to Arakan Hills in the South and from Chittagong Hill track and Tripura in the West to Chindwin River in the East. The British Government was the first and only historically known invader to the Kuki Country, also known as “Independent Hill Country”, said the press statement signed by KIM president, Lunpi S. Thangjom and Shominthang Doungel, Chairman, Political Affairs, KIM.

It continued that the Kuki had defended the entire Independent Hill Country for its indigenous inhabitants since 1761 AD and the greatest battle was fought between the years 1917 and 1919 which the colonial writers refer to as “The Kuki Rebellion” or “Kuki Uprising” while adding that the bitter war was fought by the Kukis across all the Kuki inhabited areas which include all the present Hill Districts of Manipur.

The British then ruthlessly subdued the Kukis and thereafter pursued a policy of Divide and Rule resulting in general socio-political decline of the Kukis who again joined the INA also known as Azad Hind Fauz to oust the British from Indian soil, it added.

It also said that traditionally the Kukis have been a well governed society and believed in peace having no misgivings about the plural democratic set up of the constitution of free India which promised to safeguard the minority communities.

It further said that the Kukis were filled with a sense of hope and expectation when India got Independence in 1947 but for the Kukis, independence in its true sense is far from being realized, instead, the Government of India has given a step-motherly treatment to the Kukis so far.

Their lands in Chin Hills and Upper Chindwin have been parceled out and incorporated within Burma (Myanmar) with the drawing of International boundaries in 1937 between India and Burma. Again in 1971, their land in Chittagong Hill track was incorporated within Bangladesh.

Thus, the Kukis have been scattered in three different countries. Therefore, a sizable section of their population in the present day is found in Myanmar and Bangladesh, it added.

It is now very clear that the NSCN-IM led secessionist movement, its ethnic cleansing on Kuki people and the United Naga Council’s ‘Quit Notice’ to the Kukis on 22nd October, 1992 that led to the killing of more than nine hundred innocent Kukis, burning down of 360 villages and displacement of more than one lakh Kuki people was to seize the ancestral land of the Kukis and include these territories in the proposed naga integrated areas, it further said.

It also said that the backward and socio-economically downtrodden Kukis are not dominated and marginalized but their identity is also being targeted for total annihilation but the Kuki Inpi will always stand up against any such efforts.

“Therefore, any settlement with the Nagas without recognizing Kuki identity, territory and political rights for self-governance can never solve the political problems of Manipur”, the Kuki Inpi asserted while advising the Government of India to evolve an amicable settlement broadly acceptable to all by taking into consideration the interest of all stakeholders.

It also cautioned that any disregard to such advice shall have consequences and the Kukis are ever prepared to protect their identity, rights and the land their forefathers defended and protected during the Kuki War of Independence in 1917 – 1919.

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