Coming back to Torbung after May 3The agenda is clear

When : May 3, 2023. Where : Torbung in Bishnupur district located 11.2 kilometres from Churachandpur district headquarters. The place where it all started and where enumerous houses were set on fire after the Tribal Solidarity March organised by the All Tribal Students’ Union, Manipur. That the rallyists marched all the way, that is 11.2 kilometres from Churachandpur, to strike the first match stick that set Manipur on fire is a tale that has been deftly set aside when any story on the violence in Manipur is covered but the record is something that cannot be erased. Fast forward to August 2, 2023 and if not handled with an iron hand, Torbung looks all set to return to the limelight with devastating effect as the hawks from within the Chin-Kuki community seem set to go ahead with their decision to bury the mortal remains of who they call ‘Tribal Martyrs’ at Torbung Bangla. Even as this commentary is being penned down, reports have come in that road blocks have been put up to stop the entry of security forces to the area while all arrangements have been made to bury the bodies at the site chosen by the hawkish elements of the Chin-Kuki community. The agenda at work to claim Torbung Bangla as their ‘ancestral land’ by converting a part of it as the final resting place of those killed in the ongoing clash cannot be missed. It is something much more than just earmarking a place for the bodies to be put to rest and here is an example of the non-indigenes des-perately trying to carve out a place as their ancestral land. The Coordinating Committee on Manipur Integrity (COCOMI) has already made its stand clear against any move to bury the bodies at Torbung Bangla, a place which falls under Bishnupur district and the reality must be clear to Imphal and more importantly to Delhi. This is provoking others, the Meiteis in this case, and the method behind the agenda of the Chin-Kuki group of people is unmistakable. An agenda which was already clear much before Torbung and Torbung Bangla and a point which had already awakened the United Naga Council and the NSCN (IM) way back, much before the clash that started in 1992 and went on till 1997. Remember September 13, 1993 a date that is remembered as Kuki Black Day every year religiously. This is where it becomes important to note that it was with an agenda that numerous houses were set aflame at Torbung on May 3 and how it soon spread to the Kuki dominated district of Kangpokpi and at Moreh as well. Replay what happened on May 3 and christen it as ‘....Kuki day’ to be observed at Torbung Bangla in the years to come is the agenda that cannot be missed.
One can easily foretell the type of narrative that will be spun out for some of the pen pushers based in other parts of the country. Given the way in which the imaginatively manufactured story of a supposed rape victim of May 15 was carried with so much aplomb a few days back, it wouldn’t be surprising if one sees the narrative ‘The Meitei majority along with the communal Government of Manipur did not even give due permission to bury the mortal remains of their near and dear ones at the ancestral land of the Kukis’ doing the round and earning the thumbs up sign on the social media. This is how the narrative has so far been spun out for the rest of the country and the world to watch and consume and in as much as the Supreme Court may rap the State Government on the knuckles for the abhorrent nude parade of two Kuki girls on May 4, it should be clear that this extremely unfortunate incident does not sum up the whole story of the ongoing clash. It would help that much more if the Indigenous Tribal Leaders’ Forum (ITLF), the Committee on Tribal Unity (CoTU) and the Kuki Inpi, Manipur turn their mind to the submission of the Centre to the Supreme Court that most of the unclaimed bodies are of people who came to India illegally. Likewise they should also turn their attention to the contention that Professor Kham Khan Suan Hausing of Hyderabad University became a first time voter only in 2005. Maybe KIM may be in a better position to explain why the United Naga Council has flagged its concern on the incessant influx from across the border and what it thinks of the assertion of the spokesperson of the KNO many years back that the Kukis move freely across Myanmar, Assam and Manipur as it is their ‘ancestral land’ in reply to a rebuke from the United Naga Council.