Home » Cancelling FMR praiseworthy, Kuki-Zo Chieftainship also needs abolition

Cancelling FMR praiseworthy, Kuki-Zo Chieftainship also needs abolition

by Rinku Khumukcham
0 comment 4 minutes read
Cancelling FMR praiseworthy, Kuki-Zo Chieftainship also needs abolition

The Home Ministry’s decision to suspend reflects a recognition of the need for revaluation of its northeastern policy. FMR led to a slow osmosis of Myanmar’s nationals to become Indian citizens much before the war started in Myanmar. The ongoing conflict is borne out of India’s failure to manage its border has been stated by many in the valley. For this, the Home Minister and Chief Minister should be praised. It is commendable that the root cause now has been addressed.
However, the effects of a long-term implementation of FMR whose fruits as a society we are reaping now have to be dealt with as soon as possible because these effects have become their own problems now. They have to be addressed too as they have now become their own major problems; the already existing large number of Kuki-Zo villages encroaching on the lands of other communities, poppy plantations and illegal taxation along with other criminal activities by Kuki militants. There is no remark by the Home Ministers on these matters at all till now.
The situation might slowly improve if FMR is removed could be the idea behind the silence of the political leadership on other matters. However, the other problems have also become fundamental given that preceding governments have never bothered to look at FMR’s implications for their political gains. So, these matters need to be addressed too along with FMR. These problems will not go away by just cancelling FMR.
Most importantly, though some have claimed that the Home Minister is inclined towards revoking the Suspension of Operations agreement with Kuki militants, no such indication has surfaced publicly from any political leader. Instead, a rumour was circulated that AFSPA might be implemented in the valley after Zo United’s meeting with the Home Ministry. So, there is not much to go on regarding other demands such as the immediate revocation of the Suspension of Operations agreement with Kuki militants which is the most important among all the points in the Kangla resolutions. It is also a strategic demand given that revoking it entails limiting the options for the Kuki fighters as Central forces have to directly engage them militarily.
Another political problem which has emerged now with the cancellation of FMR is the opposition by the Naga bodies. The concerns raised by Naga bodies highlighting the potential repercussions of FMR on community unity create an issue for the centre given the delicate balance in which Naga peace talks are going on, particularly when it comes to Manipur. Though not the same, but a similar issue happened in the beginning of the conflict. Nagas almost got dragged into the media debate over the ongoing conflict by identifying ST demand by the Meiteis as the main issue. Later, after many clarifications from the community leaders, it seems now the core problem has been identified by the Centre as the Free Movement Regime. In this also, Nagas are being dragged into given that tribes who are now being identified as Nagas live on both sides of the border.
However, we should understand that Naga’s political movement is itself now divided not just along the national boundaries but also by state territories with the splitting of NSCN and the recent appearance of NNPG. So, how much of a force Naga bodies can exert given their already fractured national imagination along the national and state borders of India is questionable.
However, we should also acknowledge while dealing with the Naga issue that there is a difference between the Nagas and the Kuki-Zo community. The social systems of Nagas and Kuki-Zo are different. The Naga social system does not require establishing more and more villages expanding their territory but the Kuki-Zo landholding system allows it. Given this, they have run into conflict with the Nagas and now with the Meiteis. So, Nagas being angry about FMR because they have kith and kin on the other side of the border is not the same as the Kuki-Zo community saying it. Both might give the same argument but the underlying implications are way different. So, the Kuki-Zo landholding system under chieftainship should also be acknowledged as a major problem contributing to the ongoing violence.

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Imphal Times is a daily English newspaper published in Imphal and is registered with Registrar of the Newspapers for India with Regd. No MANENG/2013/51092


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