Kangpokpi, a Safe Haven for Immigrants and its Unsolicited Rampant Growth

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IT WAS William McCulloch, the British Political Agent in Manipur who resettled the Kukis in 1840s in the ancestral lands of the Nagas to create his infamous ‘buffer zone’ as a policy to contain any resistance by pitching the Kukis’ mercenaries against the Nagas, the Burmese and the Lushais. According to Sir James Johnstone ‘My Experience in Manipur and the Naga Hills’ the Kukis are a wandering race consisting of several tribes who have been working up from the south. The term SADAR Hills was coined by J.C. Higgins in the 1930s as an acronym for Selected Area Development Administrative Region (SADAR) for the purpose of accommodating ex-servicemen. SADAR hills came into existence on 22nd May, 1947 and later upgraded to a Sub-Division on 25th May, 1951. Decades later in the 1970s the Kukis began to demand for a district of their own known as Sadar Hill District.

Also Read | ‘Scheduled Tribe’ tag is a must for survival of Meetei (Meitei) – Why?

They were first heard as Kukis in Manipur between 1830s and 1840s. Subsequently, during the transitional periods of 1961 Coup, 1988 ethnic conflicts and 2021 Military Coup, thousands of Kuki refugees fled from Burma and entered Manipur from the porous 1,643 km Indo-Myanmar border. There was no system or mechanism to filter such infiltration and scrutinize fabrications of government records and forgery of personal documents to become a citizen of the state Thus, began the illegal and unchecked infiltration of the refugees who became the Schedule tribe of India overnight and settled in Manipur. The bureaucrats turned a blind eyes to such development while their political masters continue to cultivate their vote banks and augment this illegal growth of population. In order to achieve bloated vote banks and also grabbing the land of indigenous citizens, the politicians implement a divisive policy of employing their own puppets (bureaucrats) in all key government departments to ensure smooth documentation process.

It was on the midnight of 08 December, 2016 the State Government of Manipur led by the then Chief Minister O. Ibobi Singh declared 7 districts including Kangpokpi defying the four Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between the United Naga Council (UNC), Manipur and the Government of Manipur, that the Sadar Hill district cannot be created without due consultation and the consent of the indigenous Naga land owners. Leave alone consulting the United Naga Council, the state government did not consult even the constitutional body, the Hill Area Committee (HAC) while creating this controversial district. Thus, finally the Manipur government in order to quench its pol

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