Home » Manipur violence: Understanding the root of the issue is finding a solution to the conflict

Manipur violence: Understanding the root of the issue is finding a solution to the conflict

by Rinku Khumukcham
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It is now over 51 days, those running the government are caught between the devil and deep blue sea in finding a solution for the ongoing conflict in the state of Manipur. Over 115 lives had been lost, more than 9000 houses vandalized and burnt and as many as 45000 people have been affected and displaced. The conflict has gone from bad to worst. Still, there seem no way forward to the fate of this hilly state. And we in the Imphal Times have a feeling that this bloody conflict is going to be another longest ever ‘recorded conflict’ in the history of the modern contemporary days. We do feel that the need of the hour is finding a solution for the crisis that is impossible without understanding the root of the crisis.
Everybody knows that the stand of both the conflicting parties is crystal clear. The Kuki people have made their demand for a separate administration or a Union territory by curving out the portion of Manipur state and this will never be accepted by the Meitei people. Now why do the Kuki people want a separate administration or a union territory like status for the Kuki-Zo people and how does the Kuki group start the demand for a separate administration or a union territory status inside the territory of Manipur? According to spokesperson of Kuki National Front (KNF), which is an armed group engaging in suspension of operation with both the center and the state government, they are waging war not against the government of India but for formation of a separate land for the Kuki people. In an interview given to a private video channel, the spokesperson of the KNF said that they were/are armed group and has been having good relations with the Indian army and the paramilitary forces. This statement by the KNF spokesperson revealed that the government of India legitimize the use of sophisticated arms and ammunitions by any group while making a demand under the constitution of India. This spokesperson of the KNF also indirectly stated that they (the armed Kuki groups) are being protected by the Indian Security Forces. These statements from the Kuki armed group are synonymous in saying that the government of India has been harbouring the armed group by encouraging them use of sophisticated weapons, since 2008 (after the signing of the SoO) agreement.
Like the KNF, there are over 25 different armed groups under the KNO and UPF currently engaging in the suspension of operation (SoO) with both the center and the state government. The state government have recently abrogated the SoO with some of the Kuki armed groups but the decision is of no use as they can’t say ‘no’ to the Central government.
Today all these armed group of the Kuki community are on the rise demanding a separate administration or a separate territory inside the territory of Manipur which is also a territory of India. But on second look around this same timing the KNF operating in the Chittagong Hill Tract of Bangladesh, the neighbouring country of India, is also on the rise with arms against the government of Bangladesh demanding a separate territory inside Bangladesh. A similar war is being wage against the government of Myanmar by the Kuki National Army – B (KNA-B) at Chin province of Myanmar demanding for a separate Chin state inside Myanmar. Co-incidentally Kuki armed groups in all these regions (India, Myanmar and Bangladesh) are up with arms demanding separate land (entities) in each country. At this juncture, what the authority of India needs to understand is the demand put up to the notice of the United Nation for formation of the Zogam or Zalengam state by curving out portion of land from India, Myanmar and Bangladesh by an organization spearheading the ongoing conflict in Manipur called the Zo Reunification Orgainsation (ZRO).
So, if one goes deeper to the roots of the prevailing conflict in Indian state of Manipur, it not merely a conflict between the Meitei and the Kuki community, it is a bigger issue. This conflict is a movement of the Kuki for formation of their promise land. A land dreamt by the Kuki in par with the creation of Israel. After all, many of the Kuki community in Manipur believe that they are lost tribe of Israel. The issue become more clearer after the CSOs in Mizoram openly interfere and provoke the conflict in the state of Manipur. Whole of Mizoram is included to the promise land of the Zo – Kuki people.
The government of India should not consider the conflict in Manipur as a mere issue of Kuki Vs the Meitei. There is a larger issue which the government of India may regret if not tackle in time. India government internal policies may be breached or the external policy towards the Asian countries may be sabotaged if the present conflict is not solved by understanding the real motive of the armed Kuki militants in the region.

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