Kukis renew State demand, call indefinite public blockade from November 15

NTIMES 13Nov: Kukis renew State demand, call indefinite public blockade from November 15

“If timely heed is not paid to the democratic demand of the Kuki people , the KSDC will launch ‘Quit Kukiland’ movement against the Centre,” Benjamin warned further.

Imphal, Nov 12 : Stepping up its demand for creation of a separate Kuki State, the Kuki State Demand Committee (KSDS) has called an indefinite public blockade on all State and National Highways passing through Kuki-inhabited areas in Manipur from the evening of November 15.

The public blockade will be enforced on Imphal to Ukhrul road; Imphal to Tamenglong; Imphal to Moreh; Imphal to Chandel; Imphal to Senapati and Imphal to Churachandpur.

The strike will continue until the Centre gives a written assurance that political dialogue between it and KSDC and Kuki militant groups which are currently under the Suspension of Operation pact will begin on a predetermined date to deliberate on Kuki political demand for a separate Statehood, said the council.

Significantly the Kuki National Organisation, which is a signatory to the SoO pact, had on November 2 stated that Zalengam or Homeland under the Constitution of India, is on their agenda.

Since Manipur’s key supply routes–Imphal–Dimapur and Imphal-Jiribam highways–pass through large chunks of Kuki dominated areas, another phase of commodity scarcity gripping land-locked Manipur after a year looms large.

The new development comes amid the United Naga Council (UNC)’s growing demand for an Alternative Arrangement for the Nagas in Manipur outside the State Government pending the Naga political solution.

Incidentally Ningol Chakkouba, one the biggest festivals of Manipur falls on Thursday.

According to the KSDC, the Kuki-inhabited areas in Manipur include Chura-chandpur district, Sadar Hills in Senapati and parts in Tamenglong, Chandel and Ukhrul districts.

Stating the Kukis were an independent people ruled by their chiefs, the committee’s general secretary H Benjamin Mate said that the Kuki people have been demanding a separate Kuki State since 1961, during a media conference today.

“Since our long-standing legitimate demand has not been taken into consideration by the Centre and the State Government , we have decided to take recourse to the public blockade (road block) at all Kuki- inhabited areas,” Benjamin said.

“If timely heed is not paid to the democratic demand of the Kuki people , the KSDC will launch ‘Quit Kukiland’ movement against the Centre,” Benjamin warned further.

Answering queries from the media, Benjamin said all Kuki legislators and Ministers, civil society bodies and the militant groups of the community are supporting the democratic and legitimate demand for a separate Kuki State.

KSDC also submitted a memorandum to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh today raising the demand for a Kuki State.

It said the demand for a separate State comprising of traditional Kuki territories, incorporated with the present day of Manipur is a political imperative for the protection of the Kuki people and their political, economic, and cultural rights.

KSDC has also forwarded the memorandum to Union Home Minister Sushil Kumar Shinde, Tribal Affairs and Panchayati Raj Minister V Kishore Chandra Deo and Manipur Deputy Chief Minister Gaikhangam.

Raising the demand for the creation of a Kuki State, a mass rally was organised on November 30 last year in Kuki dominated areas including, Churachandpur, Moreh, Saikul, Yaingangpokpi (parts of which fall under Sadar Hills in Senapati district, Ukhrul district and Imphal East district) and Kangpokpi.

A State wide bandh was also imposed on May 12 this year followed by an economic blockade in pursuit of the same demand. An office bandh was also called from 6 pm of May 15 to May 19 this year. The Sangai Express

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