Open Memorandum to the Prime Minister
Considering the words of the hon’ble Union Home Minister (quote) “The initiative to resolve the Naga (NSCN-IM) issue, for once and for all, to the greatest satisfaction of Naga people has made good progress in the last two years”, published in the media on November 6, 2016 with picture of yourself with leader of NSCN-IM Mr. Thuingaleng Tangkhul and his deputies, whom the Government of India previously had branded as “outlawed, banned and terrorist group”, the Naga issue spearheaded by NSCN-IM seems to be finalised and on the verge of settlement.
Here, it is to be appreciated that your ministry has taken the initiative for resolving the Naga (NSCN-IM) issue. Yet we have never heard of the criminal acts and the genocide being settled in a proper court of law or even a condonation for that matter.
It is also gratifying to hear about your statements, heaping praise on persons like Jadonang and Gaidinliu as freedom fighters, although the cause of their struggle is dubious in recorded history.
Yet the hon’ble prime minister seems to feign knowledge of the greatest and longest war for freedom in colonial history fought by the Kukis against the British that started from 1761 and which finally culminated as the Anglo-Kuki War (1917-19). Here we would like to reproduce the following few historical recollections to for your benefit.
“When the Great War was fought in the European theatre, its tremor was felt furiously at the other end of the globe. An Earth-shaking event broke out in the sleepy highland massif of Northeast India in 1917 during the high noon of the First World War. It was the most memorable moment in the history of the Kukis that shattered the eastern highland of the British Empire or at the heart of its ‘Crescent Empire’.
“The flames of freedom against imperialism have shaken the whole ranges from Naga Hills in the North to Chin Hills in the South and from North Cachar Hills in the West to Somra Tract and Chindwin valley in the East. It turned the Kuki country upside down, the sleepy hill villages into fortresses, the enraged peaceful population into freedom fighters, the land of freedom into battle fields, and the land of honey and milk into scarcity and poverty. The fighting and the last was went on for more than two years(March 1917 to May 1919) and the wanton destruction caused to lives ,properties, finance, and culture was so great that the Kukis could not rise up again. More than eighty six Kuki villages had been raged to the ground, fifteen villages have been deserted forever, 112 villages have been mercilessly punished and forced to surrender. About 1600 muskets have been confiscated, several hundreds of leather cannon (Pumpi), and several thousand pounds of gunpowder were destroyed. Hundreds of songkhai and songpel(stone-trap fised on the tree or on the cliff above the enemy’s paths) and other weapons of destruction have also been destroyed. More than six thousand combatants, about eight thousands transport coolies and non-combatants, two provincial British Colonial governments (Assam and Burma) and one princely state (Manipur), all under the supreme direction of the British Colonial Government of India (GOI), took active part in suppressing the Rising.
“With the mounting brutalities of the British forces against the civilians, some Kuki Leaders eventually surrendered to defuse the inhuman atrocities of the armed forces, to save lives and properties. They were imprisoned in different jails in India and Burma. But that was not the end of the War. Many Kukis refused to surrender and continue to fight until they were overpowered and captured by the British forces. They fought to the last and many of them sacrificed their lives. The War was brutally suppressed by the mighty forces. The Kukis did not stop fighting the British; the low-profile everyday forms of resistance went on until they took up arms again in the 1940s when the leaders (mostly the Chiefs) were no doubt great and influential, they were not the only Kukis who fought the British. Thousands of Kuki fighters took up arms against the British forces and fought on different fronts. Many of them sacrificed their lives in defence of their freedom against British Imperialism; some of them died in prisons”.
Many more historical records of the Kuki freedom struggle and freedom fighters can be revealed if need be. The history of the Kuki freedom struggle can never be hidden or concealed or erased. God knows the truth. How long the governments of India and Burma (born in 1947 and 1048) can conceal the historical facts that the Kuki people were rulers of the Independent Hill Country. The Anglo-Kuki war and the unimaginable losses suffered by the Kukis are still afresh in the minds of the Kuki people.
In spite of the Kuki people being an essential part of history of the land, the government of India continues to neglect their history and also the injustice caused to them. If this continue, there will come a day when the Kuki people will be compelled to review their stance vis-a-vis the government of India. And that would not be in the best interest of the government of India.
It is, therefore, prayed that the hon’ble prime minister first settle the long standing issue of NSCN-IM’s crime of massacring 905 innocent Kukis including women, children, pregnant mothers, the aged and invalid; uprooting 360 villages, lands seized; and rendering more than 1,00,000 Kukis as refugees in their own land. It is imperative that this crime against humanity should be settled first prior to your honour’s commitment to finalise the framework agreement to the greatest satisfaction of the Nagas alone. The NSCN-IM which was branded as ‘terrorist’ by the former home secretary, Mr. Padmanabhai should be prosecuted in a court of law. If the framework agreement is to be finalised, it has to be settled to the satisfaction of all the indigenous people and communities inhabiting the region. We desire for peace and the status as of before independence in 1947 and 1948 by abiding with the UN guiding principles agreed to by 51 nations of the world including India in 1945
This representation is being submitted in pursuance to more than 60 memoranda submitted to the five ministers including your honour, namely,
1. Shri Narasimha Rao
2. Shri HD Gowda
3. Shri IK Gujral
4. Shri Atal Behari Vajpayee
5. Shri Manmohan Singh
6. Shri Narendra Modi
We submit this representation in the hope of restoring peace and social harmony in this trouble torn region to further avoid possible endangerment of international peace and security in the whole region. The North East region and North West Myanmar region are home to various tribes and indigenous living peacefully since pre-British period and also during British umbrella government and we want to continue enjoy the same peace ans security without any communal wall created amongst us. Any hasty action in favour of a single community among the hundreds of communities will be just like adding fuel to fire. We implore you to understand the North East India in its contextual reality with sympathy and concern to preserve International Peace and Security.
Kuki Inpi Manipur