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Kuki blockade looms over ASEAN-India Car Rally

Kuki State Demand Committee wants GoI statement in Parliament on initiating political dialogue
The Kuki State Demand Committee (KSDC) has announced to resume its indefinite ‘public blockade’ after suspending it for about 20 days. The KSDC said its ‘public blockade’ will start from 5 pm of December 14. The Kuki State Demand Committee (KSDC) leaders while talking to reporters at B.Vengnuam Community Hall in Churachandpur informed that it will not allow the ASEAN Car Rally to pass through Kuki territory from point Moreh (the border town situated in the Indo-Myanmar border)”.

The KSDC sponsored ‘public blockade’ had begun on November 17 evening demanding for the commencement of dialogue with the KSDC and also with the two umbrella bodies of Kuki militant outfits--Kuki National Organisation (KNO) and United Peoples Front (UPF) but it was suspended on November 22 after the meeting with the state government of Manipur.

“With the objective to highlight the arrogance and unjust disposition of the government of India and the government of Manipur to address the rightful and just political aspiration of the Kuki people to govern our own affairs within our territory within the Constitution of India, and in order to draw international consciousness to the reluctance of the government of India to respond to our call to resolve the continued denial of recognition to our rights, we are compelled to inform that we shall not allow the ASEAN Car Rally to pass through Kuki territory”, the leaders said.

KSDC Chairman Hijang Haokip, its spokesman K Khongsai and the KSDC Information Secretary George Guite while addressing the press conference said, “We are aware that this rally was proposed by the Indian Prime Minister to strengthen India’s economic ties with ASEAN”. However, they said such ties are hollow and at best exploitative if Kuki rights on their territories and their rights to develop as a people are denied and give proper recognition.

They said that not a single vehicle participating in the ASEAN Car Rally shall pass beyond Moreh into ‘Kuki territory’ within India until concrete steps are taken by the government of India towards giving due Constitutional recognition to ‘our rights over our land and to govern our own affairs’.
“We shall have no obligation to uphold India’s commitments and honour unless the issues of our land rights are settled to our satisfaction,” the KSDC asserted.
It then stated the KSDC will not consider anything less than a statement by the ‘government in Parliament’ during the ongoing session of Parliament, a statement to the effect that the government shall initiate political dialogue with the Kuki State Demand Committee and Kuki insurgents within a premeditated date soon after the ongoing Parliament session as earlier communicated by the Home Minister through the Deputy Chief Minister of Manipur, to ‘change our stance’.
“We stand firm on our resolution to launch ‘quit Kuki land’ against the Indian government if our politically humble appeal to have our rights recognised in the Constitution of India is treated with disdain,” the KSDC added. Reiterating its demand for a separate Kuki state to be carved out of Kuki traditional lands incorporated within present day Manipur, shall launch a mass movement beginning 5 pm of December 14 to press for its demand, the KSDC announces.
The civil mass protest, it has been resolved, shall be carried out by way of public blockade of all the national and state highways passing through Kuki inhabited areas. The KSDC said the blockade will be effective along the roads of Imphal-Ukhrul, Imphal-Chandel, Imphal-Tamenglong, Imphal-Senapati, Imphal-Churachandpur, Imphal-Jiribam and Imphal-Moreh.
Meanwhile, when asked by media persons about the comments of the newly floated International Meiteis Forum (IMF) that the Kukis are not the original inhabitants of Manipur, KSDC chairman Hijang Haokip dismissed the former’s comments and said, “We don’t care about it.” The KSDC chief claimed that the Kukis have been settling in Manipur from time immemorial and said, “One should be aware of the geographical structure of Manipur during 33 A.D before making such comments.”

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