A foul play of the NSCN-IM

Published on February 26, 2009

By Gabriel Haokip
The cold-blooded murder of Shri Kishan Thingnam, a Sub Divisional Officer (SDO) of Kasom Khullen, and two of his subordinates by the National Socialist Council of Nagaland, Issac-Muivah (NSCN-IM) has more than one implication. While the selective killing of three from Meitei community after releasing two co-arrest Tangkhul tribals is one, the clandestine dumping of the corpses in Maphou Kuki village is another case in point.

The prima-facie finger of suspicion was pointed towards the Kukis. It is obvious that had the slain SDO didn’t rang up his wife before he was bludgeoned to death, the innocent Kukis could have been targeted in retaliation.

It is to be remembered that this is not the first time the NSCN-IM attempted to sow the seed of enmity between the Kukis and Meiteis and within the Kukis. During the infamous Kuki genocide of 1992-1997, the NSCN-IM succeeded in spreading the fire of hostility and hence inhuman crime in Tamenglong, Senapati and Chandel districts; but less in Ukhrul.

In Chandel, Kuki verses Kuki clashes took place because of the coerced conversion of Chandel Kukis into Naga.  Following the 1997 Churachandpur episode, the cynical NSCN-IM deceived Paites to the point of the latter declaring themselves not Kuki but ‘new Naga’.

At the height of Kuki genocide in the nineties, the NSCN-IM killed five Meitei woodcutters near Jangnoi village under Saikul police station. As it happened in the vicinity of a Kuki village, Meiteis targeted a handful of Kukis in Imphal and the Imphal-Saikul road was banned for a few days. Later, the truth was made known to public and the misunderstanding was reconciled.

More recently, on 14 December 2007, a gang kidnapped two children from Senapati. The perpetrators identified themselves in the guise of Kuki Reformation Group, a nonexistent group. A few days later, the truth was revealed and Kukis were freed from the attempted infamy. This is a reminder to beloved Meitei brethren (and others concerned) not to make haste reaction with mere semblance or suspicion. It could result fatal. It is also to remind you that the NSCN-IM is expert in sowing the seed of animosity between various communities.
In Manipur, the British legacy of ‘divide and rule’ policy is digested best and employed most by the NSCN-IM. This is perhaps the reason why NSCN (U) broke away from NSCN-IM to target the Kacha-Naga Tangkhuls in Nagaland. This is also a plea to the Meiteis not to react the name ‘NSCN-IM’ with trembling knees.

This is also to remind the NSCN-IM that your old wine in the new bottle will not work for you anymore. Spreading the seed of antagonism between the various communities will not serve the purpose of your utopian Nagalim. It will result in ostracizing yourself to the point of no return. The cowardice act shows your political immaturity.  It rather throws your claim of fifty-odd years fighting for sovereign Lim into dustbin.

This is also to remind everyone concerned that the stigmatization of Kukis as war-mongering people is an unproven presupposition. If you delve deep into the genesis of Kukis’ conflict with other groups, you will find the true reasons for the clashes.
The Kukis are peace loving and broad-minded people who had the history of caring more for others than for themselves. They are activated in warfare activities by their neighboring people. Kukis are not offensive but defensive.

The writer is a post-graduate student of Political Science at Manipur University, India.