Naga tribals and others not asked to leave Kuki areas
The Kuki Statehood Demand Committee (KSDC) has served a quit notice on the “Indian authorities” from 5 p.m. on Thursday as a mark of protest against the non-committal attitude of the Central government to its long-standing demand for creation of a Kuki “State” to be carved out of Manipur. Significantly, the KSDC is not asking the Naga tribals and others to leave the “Kuki areas.” There was bloodshed between the Naga and the Kuki tribals from 1992 to 1996 as a part of the turf war.
Over 1,500 people of both the tribes, mostly women and children, were killed during the ethnic clashes. Several villages had been burned to cinders.
Talking to journalists on Monday, KSDC secretary Benjamin Mate said, “Republic Day will not be celebrated in the Kuki areas. No other national function can be held in these areas. The Indian government has not recognised the political rights of the Kukis for the last 65 years.” The latest planned agitation for the creation of a Kuki State was ahead of the ASEAN car rally which passed through Manipur. If the Kukis had launched blockade, the cars could never have passed through, Mr. Mate said. The Union government promised to start a political dialogue with the KSDC soon after the winter session of the Parliament. However, it seems the government has forgotten all about it, he said.
As a part of ethnic cleansing, a quit notice was served to the Kuki tribals with September 15,1993 as the deadline. However, before the expiry of the deadline, two Kuki villages, Joupi and Janglenphai, were torched on September 13, 1993. At least 87 fleeing tribals were waylaid and massacred at a mountain bridle path at Tamei. Some others managed to escape by jumping down the gorge. The villagers are relieved they have not been asked to leave the “Kuki areas.”
Manipur has an area of 22,327 sq. km and is much smaller than any district in Assam or West Bengal. The KSDC is demanding carving out Sadar Hills sub division of Senapati district and some portions of the valley district to create the new State. The Sadar Hills and the adjoining areas have an area of 1,696 sq. km. According to the 2001 census, these areas have a population of 1,88,529. Some Kuki leaders told The Hindu that it is much bigger than the Jiribam sub division of Imphal East district. It has also been demanding the status of a full fledged district. But it has just 232 sq. km and population of 37,826, according to the 2001 census. However, Naga organisations say many “traditional lands of the Nagas” have been included in the proposed State of the Kukis. They said they will never agree to this attempt to usurp their lands. The Nagas and the Kukis have also circulated their own maps showing their own lands. If these are conceded, what is left for the rest of the communities is a small patch of land in the valley.
Republic Day will not be celebrated in Kuki areas: KSDC Secretary
Naga organisations claim “traditional land of Nagas” have been included in proposed State of the Kukis