Imphal, Feb. 24: After waiting for nine years in vain for the start of a political dialogue, the Kuki National Organisation (KNO) is ready to wait further, but for not long after the installation of a new government at the Centre.
“We are committed to peace and settling our issue peacefully. The present government at the Centre is indecisive and incompetent. We have waited long enough. But we will continue to wait till a competent government comes up at the Centre,” Seilen Haokip, spokesman for the organisation, said today.
The organisation is an umbrella body of 17 Kuki militant groups waiting for the start of a political dialogue after signing a suspension of operations agreement. Nearly 2,000 cadres of the groups are now at various designated camps.
The organisation signed an SoO first with the Union home ministry in 2005. The state government joined the process in 2008, making it a tripartite agreement.
The KNO observed its 27th raising day at Kholmun ground at the district headquarters of Churachandpur today.
The president of the organisation, P.S. Haokip, in his address spoke about the need of building and strengthening a “Kuki nation”, while cautioning the Centre and the state government of dire consequences for their delaying tactics in settling the Kuki issue.
The organisation is fighting for a “Kuki nation” within the Constitution.
While talking to reporters on the sidelines of the well-attended programme, Seilen did not conceal the organisation’s displeasure at the talks delay.
The Congress could suffer a major setback if the KNO groups decide not to vote for the party in the forthcoming Lok Sabha elections. The groups have strong presence in Kuki-dominated areas of the hills in Manipur.
At present, the Outer Manipur parliamentary seat is represented by Congress MP Tangso Baite.
Though Seilen clarified that the organisation had not taken any decision to boycott the party he made it very clear that the KNO groups had lost faith in the Congress.
“We want to maintain the status quo. Let a new and competent government come up in Delhi. Let’s wait till that time,” Seilen said.
Asked about the demand by the United Naga Council for an alternative administrative arrangement for the Nagas in Manipur, Seilen said there should be a tripartite solution for three communities — Kukis, Nagas and Meiteis.
In his address on the opening day of the Assembly today, governor V.K. Duggal mentioned about signing of an SoO agreement with the KNO and the United People’s Front, another umbrella body of eight Kuki militant groups.
He, however, did not say anything about start of a political dialogue. Duggal said there were 60 militant groups in Manipur and the government would continue its endeavour to bring the groups back to mainstream.
The Revolutionary People’s Front (RPF) today denounced the ongoing peace talks and ceasefire with militant groups in Manipur as an attempt by the Centre to wipe out the “revolutionary” groups.
“On one hand, they honk of peace talks and dialogue and on the other hand they also blatantly increase militarisation of the region. This twin process is a complete story of India’s long-term strategy to subjugate and wipe out the revolutionary movement of Manipuris,” RPF president Irengbam Chaoren said today.
In his message on the eve of the RPF’s 35th foundation day, he said the dialogue between armed groups and Centre was used as an instrument to shield their “hidden agenda” to confuse the people in the name of peace and prosperity.
Such dialogue could never bring freedom and independence, Chaoren said.
In another development, the UNLF rejected the appeal by joint secretary in Union home ministry, Sambhu Singh, to armed groups of the Northeast to give up arms and come back to national mainstream. The UNLF said Singh’s statement was to mislead the international community on the “struggle by the people of the region for their right to self determination”.