Kuki killings fuel clash rerun fear
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- Published 7.09.07
Imphal, Sept. 7: The spectre of the nineties’ bloodbath between Nagas and Kukis in Manipur is looming large over the two communities as their armed groups gear up for a flare-up again.
The trigger for the build-up was the gunning down of 10 activists of the Kuki Liberation Army by the National Socialist Council of Nagalim (Isak-Muivah) at Tangkhul Hundung in Ukhrul district, home of NSCN (I-M) general secretary Th. Muivah, on Monday. The Naga rebels also took away the weapons of the KLA members.
The Kuki community, including armed Kuki groups such as the Kuki National Organisation, the Kuki National Front and the Kuki Revolutionary Army, has unanimously condemned the “unprovoked killings”.
Holkholun Lhungdim, the president of Kuki Inpi, Manipur, the apex body of the community in Manipur, warned that the NSCN (I-M) offensive could trigger an ethnic clash similar to that of the nineties.
The Kuki National Organisation said the killings had scraped the scabs of the nineties. Clashes between 1992 and 1997 had killed 900 Kukis, uprooted 359 Kuki villages and rendered thousands homeless. “The nineties flare-up was triggered by a turf war between the Naga rebels and Kuki armed groups. A similar situation is building up again,” it stated.
A resident of Imphal, T. Haokip, said: “We fear that a communal clash may erupt any time. But we hope that nothing of the sort would happen again.”
The NSCN (I-M) justified the killings by saying that “criminal activities” by the KLA activists had prompted them to take action against them.
An NSCN (I-M) statement stated in Dimapur yesterday that the KLA had become a “public nuisance and an anti-social group” which was “nothing more than a counter-revolutionary force”.
The outfit alleged that the KLA members had hijacked two vehicles on Monday, compelling the “Naga army” to intervene. What followed was the result of the folly of the KLA activists, it stated.
Other Naga organisations have maintained silence over the development.
To prevent any outbreak of communal violence, chief minister Okram Ibobi Singh has instructed all Congress Kuki and Naga legislators to pacify their respective community leaders. Police and security forces were also alerted.