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KANGPOKPI | Oct 3 : Opposing the central government’s decision to create three Councils to settle the Naga issue which was reported in some local dailies, the Kuki Inpi has asked the government to first settle the criminal acts allegedly conducted by NSCN-IM including the murder of 905 innocent Kukis, uprooting 360 Kuki villages and seizing their land, and displacement of more than 100,000 Kukis before settling the Naga issue.
Thangkhosei Haokip of Kuki Inpi and chairman of Kuki Organization for Human Rights (KOHUR), T. Lunkim apprised the Prime Minister of India through a representation sent in an email on October 3 while a copy each of the representation was also sent to the UN secretary general, Geneva Antonio Guterres; chief, UNPFII, Henriksen Roy and the presidents of Myanmar of Bangladesh.
The representation stated that the opposition to create the councils within the so Independent Hill Country is neither an attempt to sabotage the Government’s peace talks with NSCN-IM but an assertion of the traditional rights of ownership of the land by all the Tribal people in the now so called north east India.
It also said that “It is crystal clear that the longest war fought for more than 100 years by the then Kuki Inpi (Kuki Govt) during 1761-1919 against the British Colonial Governments in India in the West and the then Burma (now Myanmar) in the east to save the tribal ancestral land including Manipur and Tripura states plus Assam State hills had resulted into the ‘Inner Line Permit’ orders barring entry of none residents of Independent Hill country on August 27, 1873.”
While stating that all the north-eastern Hill states, including Manipur and Tripura states were not included either in the political Independence granted in 1947 to the colonized India and the then Burma in 1948 while partition of India- as India and Pakistan, East Pakistan (now Bangladesh) also did not include the Independent Hill country, the representation further said that “As a matter of fact, after the two kings of Manipur and Tripura signed merger agreements on 15 October 1949, the government of India paid them land compensation of the valley land that they owned then.”
The merger agreement openly declared two historical facts, firstly, that all north eastern tribal region including Manipur and Tripura were not included in Indian political Independence of India in 1947 and the then Burma in 1948 as revealed in the merger agreement and secondly, after two years in 1949 Manipur and Tripura merged to India, but the merger agreement was not inclusive of tribal Independent Hill country areas of Assam, Manipur and Tripura, Chin Hills, Hill areas in Bangladesh, it added.
The Kuki Inpi and KOHUR also said that all the tribal ancestral land should be respected and in no ways attempt should be made to grab their land by creating any kind of law under Indian Constitutional law, which may be imposed upon the indigenous people while adding that the rights of the owners of the ancestral land must be respected and if absolutely necessary, talks should be initiated with the traditional land owners.
The Kuki organisations also warned that it would not be wise and wrong as well to tag those ancestral land owners defending their ancestral land as undergrounds for they have done what is right to defend their land and the land they inhabited has been their own from time immemorial and this ownership of land is their fundamental right as they belong to the Independent Hill country which the British Colonial Government had failed to take away.
“Defenders of the land cannot be tagged as terrorists or undergrounds, or should not be hunted and killed by the thousands one after another and those Governments indulging such act are no less than Colonial expansionists continuing Colonial rule (colonialism) which must be opposed tooth and nail,” it added.
The representation further stated that tribal land must be respected and an attempt to take away the land through new laws would be akin to murdering them while adding that all tribal land owners are united in defending their fundamental rights to their land which the Kuki Inpi has defended for over 100 years for and on behalf of the indigenous land owners.
The Kuki Inpi and KOHUR additionally stated that it must be clearly understood that any issue relating to Independent Hill country from Bay of Bengal to China, and in the region between India and present Myanmar cannot be settled with a single community or movement and rather, all indigenous land owners should be properly consulted, without whose consents any settlement is bound to incite civil unrests in the region.