Discrimination Against Kuki Identity

Published on July 22, 2009

By Luntinsat

On 15th July 2009, the local military authority at Tamu town under Sagaing division in Burma had gathered all the Se-aing-mus (heads of ten households) of Sawbua – 7 locality, Tamu town at the residence of U Aung Than, Ya-aing-mu (head of a hundred households), threatened and forced upon them to sign on a paper that states, “we are not Kukis but Thadou Chins.”

This racial discrimination, comparatively harsher, meted out to the Kukis throws light on the Burmese regime’s unwillingness to fulfill its promise made to the UN Security Council at the latter’s 6161st meeting on July 13, 2009.  Imposition of a false identity upon the Kukis measures the severity of the regime’s cruelty and exclusive strategy. Adoption of this policy of systematic annihilation poses serious threat to the very survival and existence of the Kuki people as human race on earth.

The fact is, the Kukis have been living in the land they are today since before the formation of the present Union of Burma. Until the advent of British colonial rule, they were a sovereign people in their ancestral land and did not pay tribute or serve any other government or people. The historic Anglo-Kuki War of 1917-1919 proves their existence as a distinct ethnic people.

Attempts to destroy the past and the future Kuki history by the successive regimes of Burma are enumerated here under: 

i) The Kukis were sidelined in the Panglong Agreement 1947.
ii) In the name of Khadawmi Operation 1967, more than 20,000 Kukis had been driven out of their ancestral land.
iii) In the name of Border Area Development Project, a number of ethnic Burman settlements have been established in Kuki areas.
iv) Forced labour remains a daily chore in the Kuki areas.
v) The regime by giving safe haven to armed groups belonging to different ethnics in the Kuki areas creates antagonism between them.
vi) The regime creates disunity among the Kukis by making Thadou, Khongsai or Kuki as options for their official identity.

Now, instead of fulfilling its own promise and the U.N. Security Council’s repeated requests – release of all political prisoners including Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, initiate genuine dialogue and establish peaceful atmosphere for the 2010 general election – the regime keeps its unconcerned policy towards the minority ethnic groups remains unchanged and it further creates atmosphere of fear.

This is clearly a mockery to the U.N. Secretary General’s Burma visit during 3 – 4th July 2009, and the Security Council’s consideration on Burma in its 6161st meeting. It also shows non-abiding by the words of head of the military junta, General Than Shwe, to Ban Ki-Moon and the U.N. permanent representative, U Than Swe, to the Security Council.

The writer is a New Delhi-based political activist.