Kuki is a North-eastern ethnic group whose members come from different tribes. These people live in Manipur, Assam, Mizoram, and hilly parts of Myanmar and Bangladesh. During British rule, the tribes were collectively called Kuki by colonial rulers. 30% of Manipur's total population comprises the Kuki tribe, who mainly live in Churachandpur, Senapati, Kangpokpi, Chandel, and Tengnoupal districts. Kuki Insurgency in Manipur signifies the struggle of these people for ethnic identity and tussle with Naga tribes that also inhabit the state.
Kuki Insurgency in Manipur History
Manipur kingdom was merged with India through an instrument of accession soon after independence. However, statehood was granted to the area only in 1972. Local tribesmen could not reconcile with the forceful' inclusion in India. The delay in official recognition of the state further aggravated their resentment. These contributed to the growth of the Kuki Insurgency in Manipur.
Causes of the Kuki Insurgency in Manipur
In 1980, the central government had declared Manipur a Disturbed Area.' The army was conferred with sweeping powers through AFSPA (Armed Forces Special Powers Act). Armed forces engaged in excesses that further incensed the Kukis. Incidentally, the Kuki Insurgency in Manipur had started taking roots soon after independence when the demand for self-determination and statehood started gathering strength.
The Kukis aspired to form Kukiland.' They demanded a major stake in the government and more decision-making power than the Nagas. This struggle for supremacy unleashed conflicts between the Nagas and the Kukis. The KNO (Kuki National Organisation) was formed to carry out armed operations through militant groups like KNA (Kuki National Army), Kuki Independent Army, and Kuki Commando Force.
Challenges of Kuki Insurgency in Manipur
In some areas, the border of Kuki-inhabited regions coincides with those inhabited by Nagas. This resulted in identity insecurity among Kukis, who feared that Nagas were capturing their land by force. The two communities resorted to violence to dominate trade and other economic activities. This turned ugly as villages were burnt down, and civilians were killed. The number of stand-offs has reduced significantly in recent years, but tensions still simmer between the communities.
☛ Also Read: Daily Current Affairs
Interesting Facts About the Kuki Insurgency in Manipur
- Kukis had clashed with the National Social Council of Nagaland (IM) many times between 1992 and 1995, which resulted in the killing of 1000+ Kuki people.
- SoO (Suspension of Operation) was declared in 2005 by Kuki insurgents after signing a truce agreement with the Indian Army.
- Since then, the government has been extending the SoO in every area as Kuki militants often issue threats to take up arms again.
- In 2008, the insurgents decided to resolve their issues through a political route by entering into a tripartite agreement with the Central (UPA Coalition) and State Governments.
- To stop the insurgency, Kukis are demanding the formation of a full-fledged Kukiland Territorial Council district under the Sixth Schedule of the Indian Constitution.
The present Central Government under Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi extended the SoO with Kukis last September. It remained valid till 28th February 2022. The government has also expressed its willingness to engage in a dialogue with Kuki insurgent leaders to achieve prolonged peace in Manipur. Kuki Insurgency in Manipur is nearing its end as Kuki leaders are also desirous of joining mainstream political parties, pursuing their demands democratically.
FAQs on Kuki Insurgency in Manipur
Q 1. What is the root cause of the Kuki Insurgency in Manipur?
The root cause of the Kuki Insurgency in Manipur is that the Kukis are fighting to retain their cultural identity and prevent the Nagas from grabbing their land.
Q 2. Why is the Kuki Insurgency in Manipur more prominent in the North-Eastern state?
The Kukis constitute almost 30% of the total population of Manipur and thus have a major stake in this state. Hence, the Kuki insurgency is more prominent in the North-eastern state.
Q 3. What is the present status of the Kuki Insurgency in Manipur?
In 2005, Kukis had entered into the SoO (Suspension of Operation) agreement with the Indian Army. Since then, violence and insurgency in Manipur have dramatically abated.
Q4. Which group was leading the Kuki Insurgency in Manipur?
The KNA or Kuki National Army was leading the Kuki Insurgency in Manipur.
Q5. What is the latest update on the Kuki Insurgency in Manipur?
The latest update on the Kuki Insurgency in Manipur is that SoO is not being enforced from 1st March 2022. Kuki leaders are now seeking the democratic route to vocalize their demands.