Imphal, October 16: Manipur Chief Minister N Biren Singh has asked Kuki Inpi, the apex body of the Kuki tribe in the state, to refrain from actions that may create misunderstanding with the ethnic Nagas in the state during the upcoming centenary of the Anglo-Kuki War, officials said Wednesday.
Singh met the Kuki Inpi leaders on Monday and the Manipur government has directed the deputy commissioners and superintendents of police concerned to take necessary actions to maintain peace, the officials said.
Chief Secretary J Suresh Babu told newsmen on Tuesday that the Manipur government has no objection to the centenary celebrations of the historical event but the words “ancestral lands” should be removed from memorial stones proposed to be erected on the occasion as some communities have strongly objected to it.
He said Naga bodies based in the state along with Ukhrul District Autonomous Council had sought Singh’s intervention to stop the erection of the memorial stones with the words “in defense of ancestral lands and freedom” inscribed on it.
The Naga bodies have claimed that ethnic Kukis are not indigenous people of Manipur and the sites where the stones are proposed to be raised fall in the Naga-inhabited areas of the state, the chief secretary said.
He appealed to people to stop spreading rumours on social media about the erection of memorial stones on the centenary of the Anglo-Kuki War that falls on Thursday.
Kukis have been opposed to the Nagas for decades and their hostility dates back to colonial times. The 1990s had witnessed bloddy conflicts over land – large swathes of what the Kuki claim to be their homeland in the Manipur hills which overlapped with Greater Nagaland or Nagalim envisioned by the NSCN (IM).
Sources in Delhi-based Kuki Students Organisation said the body has written to Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday demanding his immediate intervention in withdrawing the state government’s order, which it termed as “illegal and unconstitutional”.
Thangkham Lupheng, a member of the Sadar Hills Autonomous District Council Sadar Hills which is in the Kuki- dominated area, has criticised the government’s directive as “unbecoming of an elected body”.
He also wrote to the chief minister questioning why the ethnic Kuki’s erection of their memorial stones with inscription is being objected to by the government. (PTI)