Manipur Imbroglio: Common folks in state of confusion

The recent unfolding of events in violence-hit Manipur is bewildering and has left the common folks in a state of confusion.

ByRK Nimai

Updated 23 Aug 2023, 7:47 am

Manipur(Photo: IFP)
Manipur(Photo: IFP)


The attack on village guards at Manipur's Thawai Kuki village that resulted in the deaths of three volunteers was attributed to a joint team of Kanglei Yawol Kanna Lup (KYKL) and Manipur Naga Revolutionary Front (MNRF) by the Kuki and cognate tribes group, which was immediately refuted strongly by both the groups, leaving the common folk perplexed as to who were the perpetrators.

The claim also was a bit of a surprise, as these two groups, KYKL and MNRF, had in the past never worked together. This incident led to fresh concerted attack on Meitei villages in three-four districts, which fortunately did not lead to any injury or casualty.

In social media, there was a statement circulating that the Indigenous Tribal Leaders' Forum (ITLF) was divided into two groups, which till now has not been contradicted officially. Was this true just can’t be confirmed as Churachandpur is now like a “black-hole” with no information coming out except for the press releases by the ITLF and KIM (Kuki Inpi Manipur).

If true, what was the trigger, whether there is conflict within the groups or whether this was a strategic move. The former is more likely, as in Myanmar, the Chinland Defense Force (CDF) and Zomi Revolutionary Army (ZRA) do not see eye to eye and were regarded as natural enemies.

Further, the advantage of the conflict is likely to be garnered by the Paite-led group of people as Churachandpur, where most of them are settled, is more compact and near to Mizoram, whereas the Kukis are spread all across the state and are more vulnerable.

Further, the Nagas will strongly oppose the claim that Kangpokpi, Tengnoupal and Chandel are Kuki areas as traditionally these are Naga areas.

Also Read: Nagas of Chandel, Tengnoupal object to Kuki MLAs' demands

In fact, the United Naga Ccouncil had come out with a strongly worded press note nullifying the claims made by the Kuki and the take is migrants cannot have their homeland.

The restraint of the Naga comes as a bit of surprise though there are reports of some Naga villages which are considered vulnerable making efforts to revive the Naga Lim Guard with training of arms. The Naga may have considered the tragedy of lives loss in the event of any conflict as they had seen in 1990s though the loss on their side was much lower than the Kuki.

In fact, the Kuki has the habit of quarrelling with any community with which they were neighbours, both in Myanmar and India. Even in Bangladesh they are also doing the same thing. The next flashpoint may be in the Cachar valley as fairly large number of Kuki has started settling there.


The bandh on the National Highways have again started and the grouse is that as goods are not reaching Kuki areas, they are imposing it. They perhaps have a point, especially Chandel and Churachandpur is starved of goods due to blockade of transport of goods for delivery to Kuki and cognate tribes.

The Meitei may consider lifting of the blockade for certain select items like life saving drugs and baby foods. As the Kuki charge exorbitant “illegal tax” on goods transported, similar counter illegal tax may be considered, which can be utilised in the current conflict.

With the conflict crossing 110 days, the Meitei despite generous contributions from the public need more funding and donations are going around. The Kuki due to its large drug money can keep the pot boiling for more time, though the expenditure will be much higher as they have successfully lobbied the national and international media engaging PR Houses.

The economic activities are going down everywhere and many businesses are on the verge of closing down though efforts are in the process of revival but the fight will continue.

Many social media handles have been suspended due to complaint from private and government agencies.

The Manipur government also need to monitors and make the complaint, for speedier suspension.

The state government need to look into this aspect and a dedicated team should be set up to monitor so that social media do not spout hatred.  If action is taken timely, the ability to spout venom and spread hatred among the communities can be controlled. Even one SI of the State Police is writing nonsense in the social media which will make the Meitei angry and cause hatred and this SI must be taken to task.

Recently, a social media post shows a video of one boy who claimed to be a corporal in the National Socialist Council of Nagalim (Isak-Muivah) (NSCN-IM) reportedly arrested for selling weapons to Meitei insurgent group which was contradicted by the rebel group.

Despite allegation of such a serious crime, he seems to be have been set free and was taken by the rebel group where he clarified that he was arrested elsewhere and was made to say the doctored lines.

Who to believe; most will believe the IM’s version as the video and the leak was amateurish. Then there are some handles who post unverified information leading to spread of rumours at this juncture and these handles ought to be suspended. One must be made to realise that posting is a responsibility on one’s shoulder.

There was a number of FIR filed against scholars for spewing hatred in TV discussions. This is understandable but filing FIR for academic works is perhaps not justified and the act will be seen as an effort to stifle academic pursuits. This can have repercussions on both sides.

Academic works, which may include many untruths, must be challenged academically by bringing out the version with the truth and the authors will in a short time be seen as academically dishonest and their credibility will be lost. Once they lose their academic credibility, they will find themselves in the doldrums with no funding agency ready to fund them for future works.


Scholars need fund to pursue their pursuits for which the funding agencies are their lifeline and once the funding is stopped, they will refrain from being dishonest academically. Those who file FIR on academic works like books, academic papers published may like to reconsider the step taken; which must have been done after seeing the untruths incorporated. One example is that the claim that Manipur comprises of 700 sq miles as mentioned by Brig Sharma in his book which is absolutely trash as in the White Paper on India States brought out by the then Ministry of States in 1950, Manipur’s area is give as 8620 sq miles.

Similarly, the claim of Anglo-Kuki War 1917-19 was totally negated by the reply from the GoI to an RTI application that there is no such record.

If the query was for Kuki Rebellion, GoI would have answered yes. Such academically dishonest works need to be traced out and the author’s credibility challenged with meticulous references.

Among the Kuki and cognate tribes, there are many who had settled in Manipur long ago and by any stretch of imagination be called immigrants. Why is this community still shy of supporting the demand of implementing NRC in Manipur?

Their share is being taken over by the new immigrants and politically the number of seats won by them in the Assembly is only a few.

Why they are still silent is a question asked by many? Whether they have been subdued by the newer immigrants whose number is much more? Or whether the leaders of the present movement/conflict are mostly new immigrants and that is the reason why NRC is a strict no-no for them.

The inability to abolish the Chief’s right by a law in the 1980s as is done in Mizoram is haunting Manipur as a stitch in time could have saved many. Oversensitive to tribal views was the failure though in tribal states it was enacted.

One thing which is deeply concerning is that legal issues which could have been challenged before the law courts are now taken to the street as if the law of the land can be overturned by mass agitation. This is not only restricted to a particular community but across all communities. Yes, there are political demands which need political movement. But eviction, etc should have been challenged before the law court and the decision of the law courts implemented.

Blatantly, illegal acts are attempted to be put in place through the agitation mode which makes a mockery of the oft repeated phrase “Rule of Law”.

The recent happenings are bewildering and common folks are in a state of confusion.

(The views expressed are personal)


First published:


churachandpurmizorammeiteikimzrakyklmnrfitlfmanipur violencethawai kukipaitecommunal conflictcdf

RK Nimai

RK Nimai

The author is a former bureaucrat, Imphal, Manipur


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