September 13: The Kukis’ Black Day
By Thenkhogin Haokip
‘By the rivers of our life, yea, we sat and we wept, when we remember September 13’.
Thousands of years ago, the Israelites’ had sat by the rivers of Babylon, weeping for their lost freedom, family members and country. They had been driven to a very strange situation by their enemies. Those were the time, when the beautiful ideas of liberty, fraternity, democracy and most of all, human rights were not yet born or at least materialized.
In the 21st century, a similar song had to be sung mournfully every 13th September by a nation, very insignificant in the eyes of the biggest and largest democracy. These singers had to compose a deep sentimental composition not because of the Chaldeans or the Babylonians, but because of those who spearheaded the “Nagalim for Christ,” decades after receiving Christ’s message of love.
Would Christ’s love butchered-off the heads of innocent men, women and children without the slightest sense of pity? Will the pioneers in receiving Christ’s love spearhead the murder of 1,000 innocent Christian lives? It is in fact, the devil in sheep’s clothing.
In the 1990s, the National Socialist Council of Nagaland – Isak and Muivah (NSCN-IM) had done which the devil himself would hesitate to do, without a moment of hesitation, torturing, butchering, raping and disfiguring to the extreme, thousands of helpless, defenseless people, burning off villages, imprinting in the surviving hearts such impression which no amount of detergent could wash-off anymore.
The people who proudly claimed to be the first to receive the gospel in Manipur state (in India) had carried out the devils gospel upon the unprepared helpless Kukis.
A century of the gospel of Christ had taught them to hate, kill and butcher mercilessly, which the writer as a Christian never did come across as a commandment from God to do likewise. Instead, the scripture says “Love your enemies as yourself.”
The then governments both the Manipur state as well as the centre turned blind eyes to these historic massacre. When the helpless people had to wipe-off their tears and stood-up to fight back, then the government armies intervened. The murderers were always backed by the government agents in killing the Kukis.
The Manipur Kacha-Nagas are not real Christians as long as they share the same cup with the NSCN-IM. Believe me, the naked Tangkhuls had been properly clothed by Christianity, but now their clothes are torn. They thought they would change their clothes after they committed such a horrendous sin. But they cannot change history. Is uprooting, molesting, killing innocent people what Christ stands for?
Why September 13?
During the NSCN-IM campaigns for ethnic cleansing in the hills of Manipur, many innocent Kuki lives had been lost, starting the 1950s, and highly aggravated during 1992-93. Quit notices were served to the Kuki people living peacefully in their villages in all parts of Manipur.
The Kukis vacated many of their villages. A quite notice was also served to the Kuki people in Zoupi village, Tamenglong district of Manipur. A deadline was fixed for them before they could vacate the village.
Thus, the Kuki people unwilling to resist the dictates of the NSCN-IM vacated the village before the deadline and moved away from the village as a caravan toward Taphou. However, the devils intercepted them on the way, stopped them, separated all the men, tied their hands at the back, blindfolded them and started cutting off their heads (not wanting to spent bullets on them) killing 88 helpless, defenseless men at the spot in broad day-light in the sight of their women and children.
Another incident on the same day, at Gelnel village in Sadar Hills district, 13 helpless Kukis were brutally murdered, 4 persons at Santing village and yet another 3 at Nungthut village (Tamenglong District). All together, the death toll of the day reached 108 on September 13, 1993.
The world turned dark with helplessness and pain for the Kukis with no one to help, even as the state government at that time was in the hands of a Naga chief minister Shri Rishang Keishing who was the strength and source of the NSCN-IM. The government still supports and protects Th. Muivah and his NSCN-IM just like what the Americans had done decades ago to Osama bin Laden and his al-Qaeda militants.
The Kukis lost more than 900 lives at the hands of the NSCN-IM. Thus, the Kukis decided to bemoan the death of all their kinsmen, women and children on September 13 every year. A decade has passed by but no justice has been done. The NSCN-IM neither admits their crimes nor say sorry to their Christian brothers (the Kukis), for which this black day has been observed.
The writer is a research scholar at Assam University, India.