Imphal, November 30 2012: The Kuki National Organization has slammed the NSCN (IM)’s statement over Kuki demands for Kuki rights and territory to be recognized.
The KNO said the organisation finds it unfortunate that the NSCN-IM should choose to stick to its brand of baseless propaganda in its pursuit of exclusivist and communal agenda of grabbing land rights of politically less organized neighbours, including the Kuki community. It stated that the KNO would like to place on record that its claims on traditional Kuki territory is in fact a sacrificial and compromised claim in recognition of present-day demographic distribution aimed at communal harmony and mutually dignified peaceful co-existence.
“In this context, it is pertinent to mention that in the pre-British era present-day Tamenglong, for example, was the chiefdom of Kuki legendary resistance leaders, Pu Tintong, chief of Laijang and Pu Khotinthang, chief of Jampi. “At the time, Tamenglong was known as Laijang. The present-day inhabitants, who belong to the Zeliangrong community, were vassals in the court of Pu Tintong of Laijang and Jampi. “Likewise, the present-day inhabitants of Ukhrul were vassals of Pu Pache, the great Kuki chief of Chassad and Pu Chengjapao, chief of Aisan.
“However, since the present demographic pattern shows the once vassal community in majority in the existing districts, which originated as sub-divisions by design of British colonialists to suppress their enemy, the Kukis, today, we find it reasonable and so generously have decided not to claim the entire territory, which do not include 350 villages (such as Joupi), uprooted by NSCN-IM from 1992-1997, but limit it to areas where Kuki villages live in peace,” the KNO recalled.
“The accusation of the NSCN-IM that the Kuki State Demand Committee (KSDC) circulated a fake Memorandum of Understanding between KNO and NSCN-IM is false. However, KNO would like to place on record the background to the development of the MoU that when Th Muivah, general secretary of NSCN-IM wanted to go to his birth place, Somdal, VS Atem requested TS Haokip, defence secretary of KNO to facilitate the process as from this stage on Nagas and Meiteis were going to be at loggerheads. NSCN-IM also sent members of Naga Students Federation (NSF) to Aizawl to meet members of the Young Mizo Association (YMA) to request Kukis in Manipur, the Mizo people‘s brethren’s support.
YMA, in response asked the NSF delegation to speak directly to the Kukis. Following this advice, the NSF group met a Kuki gentleman in Aizawl, who in turn spoke to PS Haokip, president KNO. The president replied that should NSCN-IM want mutual support at any given time, a sound basis for a positive and healthy relationship needs to be established. KNO would not ask compensation for the 900 Kukis killed by NSCN-IM from 1992-1997, but would propose a territorial understanding. Hence, only was born the idea of the MoU in question specifically as a proposal. Should the proposal lack acceptance from NSCN-IM, there is no alternative for a mutual relationship,” the KNO stated today.
The proposed MoU has no connection with the stand of KSDC. KSDC’s stand is based on the land of the Kukis for which our chieftains possess pattas, legal land ownership rights. Ownership of traditional lands by Kukis pre-dates 33 AD, when the first Meitei king Chothe Thangvai Pakhangba’s coronation. As stated in the Meitei Pooyas, two Kuki chiefs Kuki Ahongba and Kuki Achouba helped Pakhangba’s mobilisation to the throne, the KNO claimed. The KNO then stated that the proposed Memorandum had indeed been authored and given to the NSCN-IM leadership for consideration and in the spirit of amicable and mutually dignified settlement of contentious issues between the two neighbouring communities and cooperation in the march towards welfare of the two peoples.
That the NSCN-IM, based on irresponsible press reports should accuse the KNO of claiming the Memorandum as having been signed is unfortunate and unexpected from an organization of their stature, it said. The KNO would also like to place on record that the KNO is never against the aspirations of the Naga people as long as such aspirations do not infringe on the rights of the Kuki people. At the same time, the KNO will not tolerate any attempt by the NSCN (IM) to forcibly include Kuki inhabited traditional areas into any form of Naga administrative entity, primarily because of the antagonistic and ethno-exclusivist chauvinism of the NSCN-IM ideology, which was manifest in the Kuki genocide that the organization orchestrated between 1992 to 1997 .
The KNO also hereby offers free advice to the NSCN-IM leadership to refrain from the shallow and shameful manoeuvre of using captive Kukis in the name of Kuki Tribal Union (KTU) to blow the trumpet on their behalf, because the KNO would like to maintain some respectability for the NSCN-IM as a long standing revolutionary organization.
Finally, the KNO appeals to the Naga people not to be led by the NSCN-IM onto the path of hatred, but to bring sense into the leadership of the NSCN-IM to change track and reciprocate KNO’s sincere overtures for dignified mutual relations and cooperation between the two peoples towards protecting our tribal rights and heritage in the face of neo-colonial threats, towards peace and development for our peoples who have been denied and deprived by people who have no right to meddle in our affairs. TSE/NNN