Imphal, Oct. 17: The Kuki National Organisation (KNO), an umbrella body of Kuki militant groups, today reaffirmed its demand for a separate Kuki state carved out of Manipur’s territory.
“At this juncture of our history and in the context of the present state of Manipur, KNO and its constituent member organisations are focused on realising a separate Kuki state,” KNO president P.S. Haokip said in his message, read out by KNO home secretary T. Anton during the 8th foundation day of United Minority Liberation Army (UMLA) today at Camp Hermon in Chandel district, about 80km from here.
Haokip did not elaborate on the demand for a separate Kuki state in his message. He, however, stressed the need for the Kuki people to come together for a “unified struggle” to make a “change” and establish “a secure and safe environment” which would benefit the community.
His call for Kuki unity comes at a time when the Zo-Reunification Organisation, a Kuki group working for reunification of the Kuki community, is preparing to hold a conference-cum-celebration of the 68th United Nations Day on October 24 at Moreh, in Chandel district, around 109km from here.
“Let us be reminded today that though there were 22 Kuki tribes in Manipur listed in the Constitution in 1956, we are of the same ethnic entity…. KNO stands firm on a political ideology of inclusiveness and equal status for every section of ethnic people,” he said.
UMLA “commander-in-chief” Kopham Khaling expressed his unhappiness at the “failure” of the government to implement the promises made in the suspension of operations agreement.
KNO is an umbrella organisation of 15 Kuki militant groups having tripartite suspension of operations agreement with the Centre and state government since 2008. The cadres of constituent members of the organisation stay in various designated camps particularly in Chandel and Churchandpur districts.
Though five years have passed since the signing of the peace pact, political dialogue with the state or Union governments was yet to take off.
In addition to the demand for a separate Kuki state, the Tangkhul Naga Long had reiterated its demand for a separate Naga state.
The convention declared severance of “all political ties” with the Manipur government and demanded an alternative administrative arrangement for Nagas in Manipur outside the government’s purview.
Tangkhul Naga Long is the apex body of Tangkhul Naga community in Manipur. “The Nagas have witnessed for many years how the Manipur government has never recognised and respected the identity and prestige of the community,” K. Dickson, the organisation’s general secretary, said in a statement today.