Dimapur, August 31 :
The Zeliangrong community of Assam, Manipur & Nagaland today raised strong objections to the “Kuki demand for ‘Sadar-Hills District’” out from land traditionally held and owned by Nagas. The Zeliangrong Union addressed a representation to the chief minister of Manipur today cautioning that “we cannot tolerate the politics of conversion of our lands into Kuki district or Kukiland.”
The Zeliangrong Union questioned the demand by a community that had migrated from Twelpi of Chin-Hills of Burma, crossed over the southern border of Manipur and settled at ‘Mombi’ (on the south-east of Tengnoupal area), 165 years ago in 1845, during the reign of King Nara Singh of Manipur.
“As before, the Kukis has once again submitted a memorandum to the President of India, for a district of Sadar-Hills. The Zeliangrong Nagas as well as other Naga groups of Manipur have always been against this Kuki demand for a Sadar-Hills District — for the reason that the lands (areas) of Sadar-Hills originally belong to the Naga districts of Tamenglong, Senapati and Ukhrul and as such the areas should not be conceded for Kuki political interests which include their aspiration for a Kuki home-land and state,” the union said. Besides, the representation said, the “Kuki demand” will also affect the interest of the Meitei and the territorial integrity of Manipur state itself.
The union also elaborated on the background of the demand for a ‘Sadar-Hills district.’ “It is a historical fact that in Manipur the Nagas in the
surrounding hills (including the Sadar-Hills) and the Meiteis in the valley are autochthonous people and have been living there as owners of the land for thousands of years since time immemorial, even before the founding of Manipur kingdom by Pakhangba in 33 AD. So, how the Kukis who migrated from Burma (Myanmar) into Manipur in the recent history, could claim Sadar-Hills as their home district or home-land,” the union said.
The Zeliangrong Union also referred to the report “Chin Hills-Manipur Boundary Commission, 1894” where , the Kukis (Thadou Kukis), about 1500 in number, migrating from Twelpi of Chin-Hills of Burma, crossed over the southern border of Manipur and settled at ‘Mombi’ (on the south-east of Tengnoupal area), 165 years ago in 1845, during the reign of King Nara Singh of Manipur.
“The then British Political Agent in Manipur Major McCulloch allowed them to settle there on the condition that they (the Kukis) should serve as ‘sepoy villages’ to prevent other immigrants from Chin-Hills from across Manipur border,” the union said in its representation.
The Zeliangrong Union reiterated its demand for restoration of various parts of “Sadar areas” to their respective parent districts of Tamenglong, Ukhrul and Senapati. “This will be the right and lasting solution for the controversial Sadar-Hills issue. The Nagas can live peacefully with the Kukis, Nepalis and other communities of the said areas; but we cannot tolerate the politics of conversion of our lands into Kuki district or Kukiland,” the representation added.