Lessons should have been learnt Accept the reality
Biting off more than they can chew or refusing to accept the reality. This is how things have panned out in the last couple of days and this is something which should have been clear from the moment hundreds of houses belonging to the Meiteis were set ablaze and the residents driven out at Torbung after the Tribal Solidarity March of May 3. It was on August 9, 2023 that Union Home Minister Amit Shah attributed the clash between the Kukis and the Meiteis to the large scale incursion from across the border and started settling in Manipur, the rising narcotics trade from across the border etc. Lest one forgets, this announce- ment did not come at a public meeting but inside the sanctum sanctorum of Parliament and this is where its significance grows manifold. This was followed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, again on the floor of Parliament, on August 10, who asserted ‘Home Minister Amit Shah gave a detailed explanation on what happened in Manipur.’ This was New Delhi speaking and was in a way calling out the false narratives that have been woven into the ethnic clash that erupted in all its ugliness on May 3 evening. This is where the call for a National Register of Citizens and the need to weed out all illegal immigrants becomes significant and it should be more than clear why many of the more vocal Kuki leaders do not want the NRC exercise to be carried out here. No to NRC, yes to illegal immigrants and on the basis of all the false narratives raise the call for a separate administration. This is the line that has been maintained and in the process write to the Prime Minister of Israel calling for assistance on the ground that they are one of the lost tribes of Israel, approach the European Parliament with the cry that so many Kuki Churches have been burnt down while keeping a studied silence on the places of worship of the Meiteis including Hindu Temples which were razed to the ground and spat upon and clearly here is a case of desperately trying to play the victim card with all the manufactured tales. Lies have a limited shelf life, is a point which was forgotten. The diplomacy card played in extending support to the UNC sponsored rally calling for a solution to the protracted Naga issue based on the Framework Agreement on August 9 fell flat on its face with the UNC and the NSCN (IM) coming out in quick succession in dubbing the Kukis as migrants. The ‘Zalengam agenda’, this is how the NSCN (IM) has put it to give a better understanding of the call for a separate administration.
Mercenary tribe, this was the exact term used by the United Naga Council (UNC) to refer to the Kukis and followed this with ‘total lack of attachment to any land and landscape’. Shooting straight, this is what the UNC did to rubbish the claim of a Kukiland and equally minced no words in rubbishing the attempt to misinterpret the Kuki rebellion of 1917-1919 as Anglo-Kuki War. Things should be more than clear. Apart from igniting the clash at Torbung after a highly charged Tribal Solidarity March at Churachandpur on May 3, the false narrative that has been woven into the ethnic clash has been laid bare for one and all to see. Solution first, peace later was another catchy slogan coined by the Committee on Tribal Unity (CoTU) and championed by the Indigenous Tribal Leaders’ Forum (ITLF) and the unspoken but loudly audible message in such a slogan is the desire to prolong the confrontation, never mind the fact that thousands of people are suffering. It is the well heeled, suited, booted class, who dictate terms from their safe confines at Delhi, Bengaluru, Pune and closer home Aizawl, Guwahati and Shillong who stand to gain from the violence. The clash means the poppy plantation must be flourishing amidst the clash and tension, with no one to check or destroy such plantations. And drug smuggling continues, the only exception being the change in the route of the drugs consignments. Focus is now on Mizoram as the major transit route for drugs has shifted there and one wonders why the indigenous and original settlers of Mizoram have not yet woken up to this point.