DIMAPUR, Sept 12: On the eve of the Kukis in Manipur observing their ‘Black Day’, the NSCN-IM has reacted strongly to the memorandum of the Kuki Inpi Manipur (KIM) and Kuki Organization for Human Rights (KOHR) submitted to the Prime Minister of India two, months ago. The NSCN-IM said that while totally forgetting the history of being nomads in existence in Manipur and elsewhere, the Kuki Inpi Manipur (KIM), in order to play ‘a holier than thou’ politics against the Nagas with the venomous idea of sabotaging the Indo-Naga political negotiations, has been ferociously submitting representations of malice and prejudice to the Indian Prime Ministers, the latest being to Dr. Manmohan Singh, on July 31, 2013, “urging him to deliver justice to the 900 Kukis killed, 360 villages uprooted, and one lakh people made refugees by the NSCN-IM in the 1990s before any possible agreement is made with the Naga outfit” as reported by Huiyen News Service/NNN.
In the KIM memorandum it was mentioned, “This problem, the KIM’s memorandum said can be amicably settled in a proper court of law in order to have peace and justice and to bring about law and order”. “If it is so, the last rite of those 900 innocent people murdered could be performed, according to the Kukis’ traditional practice of the burial rite, and over two decades mourning come to a close”. KIM’s memorandum continues, “Without settlement, the age old Kuki customary law of burial rite cannot be performed and therefore, the Government of India is repeatedly requested to settle the matter of Kukis killed before any agreement made with the culprits”. The memorandum stated that “Kukis are the people who stood firmly for all indigenous people of the present so called North East India against the British might, and saved the whole land by sacrificing thousands of lives and many leaders imprisoned in several prisons in India and abroad”. “Kukis hate violence of any form but want peace restored by means of the law of the country” stated in KIM’s memorandum.
Reacting to this, the NSCN-IM said today, “From the KIM’s memorandum, it is crystal clear that the Kuki-Naga conflict of 1990s was the only recorded conflict history of Manipur between these two communities. However, KIM can never run away from the truth of history of how Kukis were used by the Britishers and Meitei Maharajas to forcibly enter/migrate into the Naga territory for invasion projects. KIM is reminded of the fact of the history that Nagas have no business to fight against the Kukis because there were no Kukis in the present Naga areas in Manipur until Nagas were attacked, terrorised and forcibly penetrated into Naga territory during 1834-1878. KIM is advised to refer to a remark by Revd. F.S. Downs in his book: ‘The Mighty Works of God’ wherein Downs rightly remarked that, ‘Conflict between these two groups had begun when the nomadic Kuki people began to move into an area which the Nagas regarded as exclusively theirs. History has it on record that the Kukis attacked Chingsui (Chingsoo) village in 1880, Phungcham village in 1884, Chingjaroi village in 1895, Somra Tangkhul village in 1909, Anal Naga village in 1917 and Awang Kasom also known as Ngahui and Shangshak village in 1919,”.
Quoting Alexander Mackenzie’s book that said, ‘The North-East Frontiers of India’(p.205) documented that, “On the 17th of February, 1880; Chingsoo Tangkhul village was attacked by Chassad Kuki led by its chief Tonghoo, with 50 muskets destroying the entire village. 20 men, 7 boys and 25 women were killed. 1 man, 1 girl and 1 woman were taken captive”. Annoyed by the Kuki Rebellion of 1917-1919 and its savagery, all the rebel leaders were arrested and rebellion was finally suppressed by the British on December 19, 1919. Unaccountable Naga people have been killed by the Kuki marauders and mercenary of the British. So, it is clear from the above facts that the Nagas have never started the conflict. Rather, it was always the Kukis who have started the conflict in history of the relationship between the Kukis and the Nagas then and now. It is now clear that Kukis have mastered the art of manipulating and exploiting the difficult situation of Nagas by taking favour from the British Empire in the past and now with the Indian state.
“The Kuki settlement in the Naga territory either by means of intimidation or persuasion was definitely made conditional and all a temporary accommodation.” They have to pay Lousal Lampan to the Chiefs of the Naga villages where they settle. The Herald, a Weekly newspaper published in Calcutta on 3rd September 1993, under the caption ‘Insurgency in Manipur Critical’ wrote, “When the Kukis settled in the Hills of Manipur from the Chin Hills of Myanmar during 1830-1846, they agreed to pay a loyal land tax to the Naga Chief…”. “Default of mutual agreement was never tolerated by the Naga Chiefs” according to a book ‘The Outrageous Political Drama in Manipur’.
The NSCN-IM then advised KIM to go through the book ‘Manipur and the Naga Hills written by Maj. Gen. Sir James Johnstone, the Political Agent of Manipur wherein he clarified that, “The Kukis are wandering race consisting of several tribes who have long been walking up from the south. They were first heard of as Kukis in Manipur during 1830-1840”. T.C. Hodson, the 1st Political Agent of Manipur in his book ‘The Naga Tribes of Manipur’ wrote, “We are like the birds of the air, said a Kuki to me once, we made our nest here this year and who knows where we shall build next year”. So, in short, KIM should know that Kuki-Naga conflict is a case of infringement into the land of the Nagas by the Kukis. It is a case of tenant’s outrage to become the land-owner. Nagas are well aware of the fact that Kukis do not have their own original homeland. There was no such thing as Kuki homeland in the history. “It was in 1840s when Mc Chulloch the British political agent who initiated a systematic policy by bringing in a large number of Kukis in the Naga Hills loaded with British firearms and ration to subdue the Nagas resistance against the mighty British Empire. Within a short period of time thousands of more Kukis were planted in the Naga Hills. The demand to establish a Kuki homeland is a recent phenomenon and that is also within the Naga territory. No Naga will fall prey to such kind of hallucinating proposition in any way. KIM should know that the consent of the Nagas is quintessential for any tribes or communities if they have to live peacefully in Naga areas,” the NSCN-IM stated.
According to the NSCN-IM’s statement, KIM’s strategies of implicating the NSCN-IM regarding the “Kuki-Naga clash” of 1990s are a sham “because the NSCN has nothing to do with the incidents that had occurred”.
“Had NSCN been involved in such crisis, the outcome would have been a different story,” the NSCN-IM stated. It then said KIM’s prayer to Dr. Manmohan Singh to settle the problem in the Indian Court for peace and justice and to bring about law and order does not make any sense to NSCN-IM “because NSCN is not bound by the Indian Court.” The NSCN-IM then said the Naga outfit does not stop the KIM to have their traditional last burial rite of those died in the clash.
“NSCN is not fighting against the Kukis or the Meiteis or the Assamese in any sense of the terms. Nagas have been struggling to achieve the right to self-determination of the people for their historical and Political rights which are unique and distinct. NSCN do not solicit unnecessary intervention into its own business of doing Naga National Politics. Last but not the least, the initiative of KIM and Kuki Organisation for Human Rights to commemorate the 13th of September as a Black Day in Kuki places is not moving in the right direction towards establishing a friendly and cordial relationship among various nationalities and communities of the region,” the Naga outfit pointed out. It then said Kuki leaders and some church leaders have gone too far instigating the Kuki youth and maligning the image of Naga political organization in India and abroad. Patience has its own limit and it is not in the interest of any party to repeat what is not wanted. “Nagas are peace loving people but when organization like KIM repeatedly continues to harbour hatred and sow enmity between Nagas and Kukis then KIM shall be held responsible for any unwanted fallout again,” the NSCN-IM cautions. The Hornbill Express