The Coordinating Committee on Manipur Integrity (COCOMI) on Monday submitted the five-point resolutions adopted in the mass rally against narco-terrorism organised by COCOMI on July 29 in Imphal to Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
In the letter signed by all COCOMI executives, the committee highlighted that the five resolutions were adopted in the mass rally participated by several lakhs of people from different communities of Manipur.
The letter pointed out that three out of the five resolutions directly pertained to the union government while the fourth to the state government.
The resolutions adopted are – 1) to end the present conflict, foreign (illegal immigrants) Chin-Kuki Narco-Terrorism must be totally exterminated; 2) No separate administrative arrangement in Manipur; 3) National Register of Citizens (NRC) must be fully implemented in Manipur, which directly pertains to the union government; 4) a special session of the Assembly should be summoned by 5th August, 2023 to adopt some action-oriented resolutions to save Manipur. If the session is not summoned by the given dateline, strong agitations will be followed according to people’s resolution directly pertained to the state government.
It may be mentioned that COCOMI, reacting to the government decision to convene the assembly sitting on August 21, had declared a social boycott of the state government and urged people not to cooperate with any government measures.
The last resolution states that a memorandum should be submitted to the prime minister of India to apprise the first three resolutions.
The COCOMI, in order to buttress the resolutions, included certain historical facts which highlighted that Manipur had enacted its own Constitution on July 24, 1947 and conducted the election under the constitution in the entire state of 8628 sq miles after which a popular government was installed in 1948.
Among the Ministers were Teba Kilong, a Kom (representing Khulmi now generally known as Kuki), Maj R Khathing, a Tangkhul (Naga) and Md Allimuddin, a Pangal (Manipuri Muslim). The Speaker was TC Tiankham, a Paite. Manipur merged with the Dominion of India on October 15, 1949 and was a Chief Commiserate, a Part “C” State, a Union Territory and finally a State on January 21, 1972, the letter said.
The letter continued that when Manipur merged with the then Dominion of India, it had its own boundary which has been preserved till date and unlike many other states which were formed by the amalgamation of many principalities.
The committee maintained that the present conflict was not a religious or a tribal and non-tribal issue.
“As per the 2011 Census, in Manipur Hindus constitute 41.39% while the Christians constitute 41.29% of the population and it was forecasted that by now Christianity will be the dominant religion in the state; it is also not a tribal-non-tribal issue as in many areas of the state dominated by the tribal, there is no tension,” the committee stated.
The committee pointed out that simmering tension over deforestation, opium-poppy cultivation and large-scale changes in the demography in specific areas of the state mainly caused by illegal immigrants from Myanmar in specific areas.
COCOMI stated that the Kuki group, throughout history, always aligned with power, except on two occasions, i.e., during World War I when the Kuki Rebellion of 1917 took place and in World War II, when they sided with the Japanese, believing that the British power was on the wane.
“For quite some time, the idea of a Greater Chin-Kuki-Zomi land called Zalen’ngam by them had been propagated based on concocted history; towards this end, large scale illegal immigration from neighbouring Myanmar took place in a few districts like Churachandpur, Chandel, Tengnoupal, Kamjong and Kangpokpi upsetting the well-established demography,” COCOMI stated.
They started settling in reserved and protected forests of the state; large scale poppy cultivation started which yielded tremendous profits, mainly by the recent illegal immigrants, destroying the forest of the state which is now almost barren resulting in severe global warming effect, the letter added.
In the letter, COCOMI maintained that indigenes of the state as well as the state government were concerned with (i) the large scale poppy plantation, (ii) large scale encroachment on reserved and protected forest by the illegal immigrants and (iii) the distorting effect of illegal money from the drug trade into politics and other realms.
The committee noted that the present conflict started after the Tribal Solidarity March on May 3, 2023 organised by the All Tribal Students Union, Manipur (ATSUM) against the so-called demand for inclusion of Meitei in the Scheduled Tribe List.
“The rally elsewhere ended peacefully by noon or so, though in Churachandpur town the rally was accompanied by armed Kuki-Zomi militants; in Churachandpur, violence started in the afternoon and the houses of the Meiteis there and in other Kuki dominated areas including Moreh were torched forcing them to flee to save their lives; even some lives were lost,” the committee stated.
The committee further highlighted that four Meitei villages in Imphal East were also subjected to arson on the same evening. It was a pure and simple act of ethnic cleansing, it added.
The committee maintained that the Meiteis reacted after receiving horrible news of the violence with equal violence in the night and the subsequent few days in the Meitei dominated area.
The committee questioned why there was no violence in other areas and why 16 Forest offices burnt to ashes on the day itself in the Kuki dominated areas if the outcry was against the Meitei ST demand.
“The tension was subsiding till the Kuki resorted to large scale armed attack on Meitei villages on the eve of the union home minister’s visit which lead to conflict between them and the security forces also besides the Meitei,” the letter added.
The letter further reads “the conflict can only be inferred to be pre-planned as tension started building up from April 27 after an open gym to be inaugurated by the chief minister was vandalised. The involvement of those in Mizoram can be seen by the press handouts of the Mizo Zirlai Pawl, Aizawl of April 30, regarding the eviction of unauthorised encroachers from Reserved and Protected Forest.”
It continues “the involvement of cadres of the Chin Defence Force (CDF) in the present conflict can’t be denied and even the National Unity Government of Myanmar had appealed to all its units not to be involved in affairs of neighbouring countries. Though cadres of CDF, who are drawn from among the Chins settled in Shan State and Sagaing Division of Myanmar have reportedly been trained by Kuki National Army in Manipur territory, it seems that there are likely to be other power’s influence to create turmoil in the border state of Manipur.”
COCOMI highlighted that it was of utmost importance that this aspect was thoroughly probed and curtailed as the conflict posed threats to national security.
The committee stated that the root cause of the Naga-Kuki conflict of the 1990s was due to the claim of Kuki ancestral land by the immigrant Kuki after settling in Naga areas after seeking permission from the Naga village chiefs.
As such, the letter to the prime minister appealed the central government to intervene to:-
1) Ensure that the foreign elements including some of the leaders of the Kuki-Zomi Suspension of Operation groups who are of foreign origin identified and confined or deported to Myanmar. Those foreign elements directly involved in the conflict are either eliminated or pushed out of the territory of India.
2) The territorial integrity and the system of administration in Manipur should not be altered as it has a glorious history and the Meitei have been known for its sense of equity. During its heyday, it has not absorbed any of the tribal community and many small tribal communities exist now because of this policy. Any change in the territorial integrity and administration may bring a death knell to many small tribal communities; which will be a great loss as even now they are highly marginalised.
3) To identify illegal immigrants, the National Register of Citizens must be implemented in the state with 1951 as the base year. This is to deprive illegal immigrants from being citizens though they may continue to stay as guest, if necessary, without indulging in destructive politics by creating concocted history and bombarding the media and seeking support from the left liberals to achieve what is known as a Kuki-Zomi nation (Zalengam) comprising areas from three countries.