An Appeal Letter to President of Human Rights Council

Published on April 8, 2010

April 7, 2010

Appeal to prosecute Th Muivah, Gen Secretary and Isak Swu, Chairman of National Socialist Council of Nagalim (NSCN-IM) for crimes committed against the Kuki people in Northeast India
 
Mr. Alex Van Meeuwen
President Human Rights Council
CH-1201 Geneva, Switzerland

Sir Meeuwen,

Your conscientious zeal to uplift the downtrodden among humanity and to genuinely defend the integrity of human dignity through democratic principles is a source of much inspiration. The courage you demonstrate in many places has given me hope and confidence to appeal for your attention and intervention to alleviate the plight of the Kuki people in northeast India and northwest Myanmar (Burma).

Kuki country was brought under British India and British Burma administrations following the Kuki rising of 1917-1919. In post-independent India, owing to negligence by the Governments, the Kuki people have suffered tremendous human indignity at the hands of a militant organisation, the National Socialist Council of Nagaland (Isak & Muivah). From 1992-1997, NSCN (IM) have killed over 900 Kuki civilians, uprooted 350 villages and rendered more than 50,000 souls to live as refugees.

The main objective of NSCN (IM) in relation to Kukis is to wipe out as many of their population as possible with a view to including Kuki ancestral lands within their dream of Nagalim. Currently, NSCN (IM) is engaged in political dialogue with the Government of India. NSCN (IM) wants sovereignty for the so-called Nagas and integration of so-called Naga inhabited regions spread out in various Northeast states of India.
I request you to intervene against violation of human rights for the Kuki people in Northeast India by prosecuting Th Muivah, Gen Secretary and Isak Swu, Chairman of NSCN (IM).

Below is a list of criminal atrocities carried out against Kukis by NSCN-IM:

1. The Zoupi massacre of 13 September 1993. 90 Kuki men were mercilessly hacked to death with machetes. This day is marked as ‘The Black Day’ by Kukis.
2. 19 September 1993, at Taloulong transit camp for the displaced, thirteen male infants, all under 5 years old, were selected and butchered in front of their mothers.
3. 7 June 1993, at Khalong, in Sadar Hills, 8 women were raped and then killed, along with 3 children and 3 men.
4. 8 October 1992, at Moultuh, in Chandel district, 3 women were murdered after being raped; a two-month old female and two men were also killed.
5. 19 November 1994, at Thingsan, also in Chandel district, NSCN-IM cadres dressed in Indian Security Forces’ uniform killed 25 Kuki men.

NSCN-IM’s declared tenet is ‘Nagaland for Christ’. However, they have committed grave atrocities against Kukis mainly on Sundays inside the Church buildings:

1. Sunday 18 April 1993, six persons were killed at Sita village in Chandel District.
2. Monday 19 April 1993, Bongli, Chandel District, five children, all below the age of six were burnt alive along with the Church building.
3. Sunday 23 May 1993, Pu Paokam Singson, Naga National Council member, from Athibung, Nagaland was killed.
4. Sunday 20 June 1993, Pu Lunjahen Singson was killed at Saijang in Nagaland.
5. Sunday 24 October 1993, three persons killed between Saijang and Lilen.
6. Sunday 25 April 1993, Pu Haopu Kuki of Longphailen, Tamenglong district, killed.
7. Sunday 9 May 1993, Pu Maj Pagin Kipgen was assassinated in front of his wife and little daughter near his home in Dewlahland, Imphal.
8. Sunday 27 June 1993, Ngaitinkim Haokip, a child aged a year and a half was killed at Aisi village in Ukhrul district.
9. Sunday 27 June 1993, Pu Khotinthang Kipgen, Chief of Tujangvaichong was kidnapped and later killed.
10. Sunday 18 July 1993, three persons killed at Sikibung village in Ukhrul district.
11. Sunday 19 September 1993, fifteen children (all male and below the age of five) were slaughtered at Taloulong transit camp.
12. Sunday 10 October 1993, Jamkhomang Haokip and his wife Tongnem were killed in a paddy field in Ukhrul district.
13. On New Year’s Day, Sunday 1 January 1995, five people were killed during a worship service at Haipi village in Sadar Hills.
14. Sunday 15 May 1994, Pu Thangboi Lenthang was killed at Moljol in Karbi Anglong, Assam.
15. On Saturday 14 May 1994, fifteen people were slaughtered and burnt along with the church building at Sipimol in Tamenglong district.
16. Sunday 11 December 1994, Pu Henkhohao, a college student, was killed in Nagaland.
17. Sunday 11 December 1994, Pu Lamkhongam, a college student, was killed in Nagaland.

The Government of India made a great hue and cry when NSCN (IM) was targeting the Indian Security forces, looted Indian Banks, or when they abducted Indian bureaucrats. As a result, GOI published ‘Does Violence Get a Mandate’, a document submitted to the United Nations Organisation, in which NSCN-IM was declared a terrorist organisation. However, when NSCN (IM) shifted their target upon innocent Kuki civilians, GOI appeared to be relieved. Subsequently, contrary to their previous stance, GOI negotiated with NSCN-IM in 1997, declared a bilateral ceasefire, invited the leadership for talks, appointed various interlocutors and continue to hold talks with this terrorist organisation, sometimes abroad and sometimes in India, trying to please them. This is very difficult for Kukis to bear when NSCN-IM have killed hundreds of my people, burnt down our houses and chased us like animals for game. According to National Socialist Council of Nagaland – Khaplang (NSCN-K), too, the NSCN-IM has links with Al-Qaeda. By any stretch of the imagination, the priority given by the Government of India to NSCN-IM seems highly irregular for a democratic nation. It appears that the Government is only willing to hold dialogue with organizations that indulged in grave atrocities.

Even though numerous memoranda have been submitted to the heads of the Government of India (including the present prime minister, Shri Manmohan Singh) and to the Military Junta of Burma, precious little has been done to address the needs of the Kukis.

In 2004, NSCN (IM) Leaders came to New Delhi at the invitation of the Government. Hundreds of Kuki students in Delhi, who are members of Kuki Students Organisation, held peaceful demonstrations against GOI for holding talks with the criminal NSCN (IM) leadership, Isak and Muivah, who are responsible for the death of hundreds of Kukis. KSO questioned GOI’s rationale for engaging in dialogue with NSCN (IM), the perpetrators of Kuki genocide, but not with Kukis, who are the landowners and the victims of genocide. The students displayed placards and banners calling for preservation of ‘Kuki territorial integrity’ and also showing photos of innocent Kuki women and children raped and killed by the Tangkhul-led NSCN (IM) cadres and their supporters. Coffin rallies carried out by the student body in Delhi in December 2004 (Hindustan Times 8 December 2004) and February 2005 (Hindustan Times 2 February 2005) bore no response either. In utter disregard, GOI continued to hold talks with the NSCN-IM. The grave danger that lurks behind the talks is that NSCN-IM may con GOI into conceding Kuki ancestral land to become a part of Muivah’s design of ‘Greater Nagaland’. In such an eventuality, GOI would be not only be committing grave injustice to the Kuki people and violating their collective Human Right but also end up encouraging terrorism. They would be sending a wrong signal that terrorist activities do gain attention in order to get what one wants, rather than through peaceful approaches, such as followed by the Kukis thus far.

Given the nature of the ongoing dialogues between GOI and NSCN-IM and all the measures the former adopts to accommodate the latter, what has become evident is that Kukis are being neglected. For instance, since colonialism ended, the Government created the state of Nagaland. In contrast, Kukis who defied colonialism to the very end of WWII for the sake of their territory – along with the Indian National Army led by Subhas Chandra Bose – but accepted citizenship of post-independent India and Burma in good faith, have not been given statehood in either country. It appears that the Government’s attention can only be gained by violent activities, such as the mass killings and deracination of the Kuki people by NSCN-IM. Should the Kukis be forced to resort to the same strategy in order to draw the Government’s attention?

Notwithstanding the positive principles Kukis hold steadfastly to, they are in an abysmal state today. This is a result of total negligence by the governments of India and Burma. Through colonial deliberations the territories that our forefathers strove hard to defend are now incorporated in different states and districts in India, and in different states and Divisions in northwest Burma. Following India’s independence from Britain in 1947, in efforts to seek proper redressal of their lot the Kuki National Assembly developed irredentist ideals by 1960s. Reversal to the status quo of pre-British era promised a panacea to Kuki predicament. Proclamations of secession from India followed. However, a change in KNA’s objectives necessitated striving instead for statehood within the Indian union. In post-independent Burma, appeals for statehood in Burma also fell on deaf ears. Rather than initiate dialogue, the Military Junta adopted harsh measures to blot out Kukis from the map. The people have been deprived of their rights since General Ne Win took over the country in the 1962 coup-de-tat. The military junta launched the Khadawmi operation against the Kukis in 1967. Over 20,000 people fled to the neighbouring country. As a part of the Military Junta’s clandestine Burmanisation policy, thousands of ethnic Burmese people were settled in former Kuki villages. There have been instances of Kuki Christian pastors being skinned alive and many villagers having been imprisoned on false charges.

Consider investigation concerning the Kukis and the instantaneous reports normally provided would be, a) negative images largely based on the accounts written by British officials, which NSCN (IM) banks on to claim Kuki territory for inclusion within ‘Greater Nagaland’ and b) Kukis are victims of atrocities committed by dominant neighbours, be it in Assam or Nagaland in northeast India, or in northwest Burma. Nevertheless, Kuki response to their circumstances is often attributed to their ‘recalcitrant’ disposition (another legacy of colonial historiography), rather than as measures they are driven to in total desperation and exasperation. On the question of the ludicrous idea of ‘Greater Nagaland’, Prof John Parratt has put forward an illuminating account, and more recently the Imphal Free Press printed the news item reproduced below:

“Dimapur, May 22: In what is seen as a major blow to the NSCN (IM), it’s MIP Kilonser (Minister), AZ Jami, who had also served the faction as Kilo Kilonser (Deputy Prime Minister) and Executive Secretary of the Steering Committee, defected to rival NSCN (K) faction on May 20.”

Jami’s comment with regard to integration:

“When we talk about Naga integration, we must remember that unless the people concerned prepare themselves for it, no individual or organization can do that by force,” he said while also observing that political solution of the Nagas of Manipur could not be negotiated by the Nagas of Nagaland and vice versa as that would be a cardinal error.”

In view of your commitment to democracy and will to firmly oppose terrorism wherever it raises its ugly head, I, president of KNO, like to appeal to your fair judgement concerning the Kuki people and your support to alleviate their plight. As indicated above, direct appeals to the Government of India and the military junta of Burma have neither generated confidence nor inspiration for us to follow entirely the same avenues. Spurred by NSCN (IM)’s drive for ‘Greater Nagaland’, which lays claim to a vast stretch of Kuki territory, and the need for peace, stability and security for the Kuki people, KNO was formed in 1989. The organisation has an armed wing to defend the Kukis from the threat of NSCN (IM), and to prevent the designs of the Meitei militants of Manipur to forcibly settle in Kuki areas of Chandel and Churachandpur districts in the state of Manipur.

The objectives of KNO are not anti-India or anti-Burma. They are reconciliatory and respect the historical rights of their immediate neighbours, Nagas and Meiteis in India, and Nagas, Kachins and Shans in Burma. With regard to the independent countries India and Burma, KNO, imbued with a sense of irredentism, but also exercising appreciation of the existing circumstances, espouse the ideology of Zale’n-gam, a term used to refer to Kuki ancestral land and nation. Concomitant to the ideology, the two strands of KNO’s objectives are:
a) the historicity of Zale’n-gam’s sovereignty be recognized;
b) the land that the British divided between India and Burma be accorded Kuki statehood, one in each of the two independent countries, India and Burma.

Your kind intervention to initiate persecution of Th Muivah in the International Court of Justice would be much appreciated. Secondly, kindly suggest purposeful dialogue to begin between Kuki National Organisation and Government of India, as well as with the Government of Mynmar (Burma) for a peaceful and amicable political settlement, which would provide the much needed-guarantee to secure their identity, ancestral lands and their future development. Our people will always cherish your timely intervention over their present predicament.

Yours faithfully,

PS Haokip
President, Kuki National Organisation
Zale’n-gam
MANMASI

Please visit our website at: www.kukination.net

Annexure –I
Photos of Kukis killed by NSCN (IM) at Khalong village in Manipur, India
Annexure – II
Photos of Kukis killed by NSCN (IM) at Athibung in Nagaland, India
Annuxers _ III
Photos of Kukis killed by NSCN (IM) at Thingsan village, Manipur India

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