Liangmai Naga Council says Kukis have crossed limits; Kangpokpi unrecognised Dist

(File photo: Maring and Poumai cultural dance troupe in Lui-Ngai-Ni festival in Ukhrul/ Ukhrul Times)

Newmai News Network

Imphal: The Liangmai Naga Council (LNC) said today that the Kukis, although living in Naga areas, have crossed the limit as they continue to harass the Nagas. Citing the latest incident where ex-chairman of a Liangmai Naga village identified as Z. Hotngambou was assaulted by Kuki Revolutionary Army (KRA) cadres on September 5 at Chalwa in I.T. Road under Kangpokpi district, the LNC said, “We are left with no choice but to stand up for our right to protect our lands and our people”.

In a statement, the LNC said, “It is an undeniable fact that majority of the Kukis are staying/taking shelter in the Nagas’ ancestral land especially in the general area of the ‘unrecognized’ Kangpokpi district, designed and created to gain political mileage, which was also opposed tooth and nail by the United Naga Council (UNC)/Nagas”. The LNC added that, in the current scenario, the Kukis are availing their basic necessities and other amenities from the Naga areas especially from Senapati district. Moreover, not a single untoward incident happened or obstruction caused to any individual irrespective of their communities by the Nagas till date. The Kukis including the displaced people are getting free access to any part of the Naga areas, the LNC also said. 

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However, in spite of the “Good Samaritan” approach extended by the Naga fellow citizens, the Kukis are repaying “our good will” by indulging in rampant extortion and physical harassment meted out to the indigenous Liangmai Naga travellers by imposing “forceful illegal tax” along the NH-2 and Imphal-Tamenglong (IT) Road in Kangpokpi areas, the LNC further alleged. The latest being an attempt to murder of an ex- chairman of a Liangmai Naga village who refused to pay tax demanded by cadres of the Kuki Revolutionary Army (KRA), a militant outfit under Suspension of Operation (SoO), at Chalwa, IT Road on September 5, 2023, the Liangmai body added. 

The LNC then “strongly” conveyed that the “indigenous Liangmai Nagas” desire a peaceful co-existence. “As a peace loving and neutral Naga community, we cannot understand the intent of the Kukis in perpetuating such barbaric and incendiary acts again and again. There have been constant harassments, threats, physical assaults, extortions and collections of illegal taxes from petty traders such as vegetable and fruit sellers, charcoal makers meted out to the indigenous Naga people by the Kukis for years without any qualms”, the LNC also stated.

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The Liangmai body recalled some of the incidents and “anti-social activities inflicted by the members of Kuki militants in the past.

According to the LNC, in January 2005, Champonbou, the then chairman of Tudon II, was brutally beaten up and his front teeth were knocked out by Kuki militants at Chalwa in front of many people.

In October, 2007, the vehicle of the chairmen of Kadi village part III & IV, Wipoubou and Khangriangbou was stopped by the KRA at Chalwa village. The KRA cadres demanded Rs. 10,000 and physically assaulted them and their companions for refusing to pay, the LNC also recalled.

On October 27, 2017, Agombou, the Secretary of Tamei Centre Church, was brutally assaulted by the KRA cadres, the LNC also said. He was detained for more than five hours and mercilessly kicked, slapped and even threatened that they would shoot him on his head, the Liangmai body further recalled. They snatched away his smartphone and his wallet containing Rs 7,800, the LNC added.

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In 2020, during the peak of the pandemic lockdown, the LPG supplier to Tamei was beaten up by some Kukis at Chalwa village. “In goodwill and love, and as Christians,  the Naga community had forgiven them without taking any action,” it added.

On May 2, 2023, a truck carrying the monolith in the I.T. Road for the celebration of Centenary at Tamei was forcefully stopped by Kuki militants and they “shamelessly” snatched away Rs 1000, the LNC further said.

In another tragic incident, a house belonging to a Naga widow was reduced to ashes by Kukis on June 18, 2023, at Leimakhong. “The fire completely burnt down the house and all her belongings were reduced to ashes,” the LNC also added.

On May 27, 2023, Kuki militants came to Namdilong, Kanglatongbi village, and fired with automatic weapons whereby infants, women, aged citizens, and sick people got frightened and woken up in the middle of the night.

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“The indigenous Liangmai Naga community sternly warns against any kind of extortions, physical assaults and harassments meted to any Naga citizen in near future. Further, the indigenous Liangmai Naga community questions the Government of India and the Government of Manipur on the free movement and widespread illegal and criminal activities of the Kuki militants who have already created a safe haven along I.T. Road, Kangpokpi, shielded as they are under the so called Suspension of Operation. We appeal to the Central government and the State Government of Manipur to act on these elements at the earliest, failing which another communal conflict may erupt soon,” the LNC warned.

The statement then said, “The latest incident conjures up the worst imagery of the so-called Kuki war of independence in 1917-1919”. Armed as the Kukis were with muzzle loading guns provided by their handlers, the Nagas suffered the most depraved acts of genocide whereby more than a thousand Nagas were slaughtered in most inhumane ways, the LNC added.

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