Kuki groups demand council
Imphal: Kuki militant groups, in talks with the Centre, have demanded creation of a territorial council for the Kukis in Manipur.
The demand was placed in writing during talks held in Delhi on Wednesday with newly appointed interlocutor A.B. Mathur, former special secretary of the Research and Analysis Wing, who has replaced Dineshwar Sharma as the interlocutor for talks with Kuki groups.
Kuki militant groups under two umbrella organisations, Kuki National Organisation (KNO) and United Peoples Front (UPF), have been holding talks with the Centre since June 15, 2016.
They had signed a suspension of operation agreement with the Centre and the state government in 2008. Wednesday's was the sixth round of talks.
The demand memorandum was signed by UPF spokesperson Aaron Kipgen and KNO negotiator Seilen Haokip.
Altogether 13 delegates from the two organisations participated in the talks.
Kukis have long been demanding creation of a separate Kuki state out of Manipur.
Now the umbrella groups are pushing for a territorial council.
After the talks, Aaron said the negotiation was moving in the right direction and several "crucial" issues were discussed.
The groups also demanded "constitutional" safeguards for Kukis in Manipur.
In another development, Kuki Inpi Manipur, apex body of the Kuki community, renewed its demand for justice to Kukis killed during the ethnic clashes between the Kukis and the Nagas in the early nineties.
In a memorandum dated January 9, 2018, and addressed to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the group alleged that the NSCN (I-M) had carried out "genocide of Kukis", killing 905 Kukis.
It said 360 Kuki villages were uprooted and one lakh Kukis displaced.
It demanded that the case of the Kukis be settled before arriving at any settlement with the NSCN (I-M).
It said the "continued silence" of the Centre on the sufferings of the Kukis may compel the Kuki people to seek justice at the "highest forum for justice and peace" but did not say what the highest forum is.