Imphal, Jan 14:
In a press release, the People’s Alliance for Peace and Progress, Manipur (PAPPM), sheds light on the ongoing violent crisis in Manipur, attributing it to the uncontrolled influx of Kuki refugees, considered illegal immigrants, from Myanmar (formerly Burma). PAPPM emphasizes that the roots of this crisis lie in the rehabilitation efforts initiated by successive Congress-led central governments, granting voting rights to Kuki refugees after Manipur’s merger into the Indian Union in 1949.
Union Home Minister Amit Shah echoed these concerns in a parliamentary session on August 9, 2023, linking the present violent crisis in Manipur to the influx of Kukis from Myanmar. PAPPM asserts that the Congress Party’s strategic objective of consolidating political support played a pivotal role in rehabilitating these refugees, eventually creating a potential voter base for the party.
The Department of Rehabilitation initially refused to undertake the rehabilitation of Kuki refugees, citing their doubtful nationality. However, through a series of manipulations, these refugees were eventually rehabilitated in Manipur with full voting rights, contrary to established norms.
This policy of Government of India had encouraged the Kuki refugees from Myanmar to infiltrate Manipur to settle and later become Indian citizens. Kukis are migratory in nature and do not have an ancestral land in Manipur or elsewhere. They came to Manipur when they were driven out of Lushai Hills and Cachar by the Lushai tribes in mid nineteenth century. They were given shelter in Manipur by Maharaja Narsing (1844 -1850).
Migration of Kuki and other tribes to Manipur from Chin and Saigang states of Myanmar (formerly Burma) continued even after independence. Migration of various tribes from the Chin Hills to different parts of India has been a continuous process for many years. It has continued in the post-independence period also. It is difficult to identify migrants from the earlier settlers as they speak the same Tibeto-Burman languages as the earlier settlers, cannot be distinguished the earlier settlers by appearance, and are not unacceptable by the earlier settlers.
The migration of Kukis and their Cognate tribes to Manipur after independence first started just after independence (In 1950s and early1960s during civil war in Burma), the second Phase of Migration started before and after 8 August 1988 uprising in Burma, the third phase of migration (After informal ceasefire with Assam Rifles and Kuki Militant Groups in 2005 and subsequent SoO in 2008), and the fourth phase of migration (After the 2021 coup in Myanmar).
PAPPM strongly asserts that the present violence in Manipur, leading to numerous casualties and displacements, constitutes a humanitarian crisis directly linked to the policies of successive central governments encouraging illegal immigration. The Congress Party, in particular, is held fully responsible by PAPPM, accusing them of supporting illegal immigrants. The violence allegedly began with attacks by rehabilitated illegal immigrants against the Meiteis, who had provided shelter and protection over the years. PAPPM goes on to characterize Rahul Gandhi’s “Bharat Jodo Naya Yatra” as a journey in support of illegal immigrants.