Rally for Kuki territory demand

Rally for Kuki territory demand
Correspondent IMPHAL, Nov 3 | Publish Date: 11/3/2018 11:02:58 AM IST

A mass rally was staged on the streets in Manipur’s Churachandpur district on Saturday showing solidarity with the ongoing tripartite political dialogue among Kuki based militant groups, the Centre and the Manipur government.

Kuki militant groups under two umbrella bodies, Kuki National Organization (KNO) and United People’s Front (UPF), under a truce with the security forces, are now engaging in political dialogues with the Centre and state government.

Recently, the two umbrella bodies came together to demand an autonomous territorial council status based on the sixth schedule of the Indian Constitution for Kukis in Manipur. 

The mass rally was organized jointly by the Hmar Innpui, Mizo People’s Convention Manipur, Thadou Innpi and Zomi Council in support of the ongoing tripartite political dialogues.

Thousands of people participated in the rally displaying various slogans placards appreciating the government’s initiatives towards resolving the Kuki political issue and in support of the UPF and KNO’s demand for creation of an autonomous territorial council for the Kuki/Zo people in Manipur.

During the rally, almost all shops, business establishments, and private institutions remained close. 

Some of the slogans displayed during the rally read as “No territorial council, no rest,” “Sixth schedule is our Constitutional right,” “Political solution is the only solution,” “Expedite SoO tripartite talk,” We want honourable political solution,” “Territorial council for peaceful co-existence,” etc. 

Government of India signed Suspension of Operation (SoO) with UPF and KNO since 2008 seeking a political solution to the demands of the Kuki militant groups. They are seeking a political solution for the Kukis under the Constitution of India and are not against the territorial integrity of Manipur state, a leaflet distributed during the rally asserted. 

It added, “In this regard both the UPF and KNO have their own political agendas in the past, however, they now come together to demand an autonomous territorial council status based on the sixth schedule provision of the Indian Constitution which will be a BTC-like Council in Assam.” 

In the leaflet, the rally organizers, noted that the inefficiency and weaknesses of existing autonomous district councils in tribal areas of Manipur was acknowledged not only by the tribals but also by the state government, Hill Areas Committee of Manipur Assembly as well as the ADCs.

On several occasions the ADCs have recommended to the Union government to implement the sixth schedule provision in Manipur tribal areas.

“Extension of sixth schedule by itself is not the solution. What is needed is a modification of the schedule based on the unique history, culture and administrative experiences of the Kuki/Zo peoples in Manipur state,” it said. In order to fully realized the much talked about “Chingmi-Tammi Ammatani (hill and valley people are one)’, “equitable development with justice”, “Peaceful co-existences or protection of Manipur territorial integrity”, it is indispensable for the government to first create an autonomous territorial council with adequate power and provisions, the leaflet added.

In the concluding part of the rally, the organizers submitted a joint memorandum to the Prime Minister of India through the Churachandpur DC seeking his intervention to create an autonomous territorial council for the Kuki/Zo people in Manipur with BTC model as proposed by the NDA and NEDA leadership. 

“We also requested him to speed-up the on-going talk with UPF and KNO alongside the Naga peace process,” they said.

The organizers, while claiming that they received the fullest co-operation and participation of various Innpi/Innpui and their subordinate associations/organizations, tribe councils, traders and businessmen, churches, institutions, various tribal chief councils as well as village authorities, lauded them for making the rally a success.

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