We will go back to jungles without hesitation if rights not respected: KNO chief

IMPHAL | Sept 13 (IFP): The president of Kuki National Organisation (KNO) and commander-in-chief of Kuki National Army (KNA), PS Haokip, has cautioned the government that the group will not hesitate to go back to the jungles if the right of the Kukis to govern themselves is not respected.

The KNO stated this during the concluding day of the three-day Kuki black day observance held at Kuki Inpi Complex in Tuibong, Churachandpur. This year marking the 25th anniversary the event is being organised for three days starting from September 11. Today’s event was marked by prayers, testimonies from victim’s families etc and Kukis from different parts turned up in thousands.

“KNO is in political dialogue with the central government where we have consistently been telling the Government of India that Kukis will feel safe only when our right to govern ourselves in our land is given recognition. We cannot settle for any less. The KNO is ready to stand with the Kuki people till that right of ours is respected, and no attempt to trample over our land and rights will be tolerated,” said PS Haokip.

He asserted that the demand of the Kukis is an absolute necessity for they are not secure and need certain dignified standard which cannot be denied for a very long time. The KNO president divulged that the Kuki people have become restless to an extent that it is pressuring the group to take a decisive stand.

While substantial talks is yet to begin, the group have reportedly prepared 45 charter of demands with “territorial council” in priority to be tabled in the next round of talks, he said.

Urging the Centre government to stop playing games with the group, he warned the government that they are ready to go back to the jungles if talks are not fruitful.

The KNO president also expressed his discontentment over the failure of the government to deliver justice to the victims of “Kuki Genocide” allegedly perpetrated by cadres of NSCN-IM during the ethnic clash from 1993 to 1997. The governments both at the centre and the state had not only turned a blind eye to the massacre committed by Th. Muivah and his band of marauders, but also shunned their ears to our cries for justice for a quarter century now, he alleged.

He compared the engagement of the ‘masterminds’ of Kuki genocide (Th. Muivah) in peace talks to allegedly appease their greed for Kukis land, as adding salt to the wounds of the Kukis.

PS Haokip further clarified that Kuki black day observance is not intended to create animosity between any communities.

Stating that the black day, Shanit Ni, is a traditional Kuki custom, he said the observance will continue until and unless the issue is settled.

Today, by erecting Memorial stones inscribed with the names of the victims of NSCN IM led genocide, we are telling the world and powers that be, that we shall continue to fight for justice to more than 1000 innocent, hapless Kuki villagers killed, the people of 350 plus villages uprooted, the innumerable children orphaned, the many mothers widowed by the genocide, he added.

It has been 25 long years since that fateful day, September 13, 1993 when the NSCN-IM-led killers mercilessly butchered more than 100 of our innocent and defenceless villagers in a single day, he continued.

We grieve their death everyday for the last 25 years, and we have cried ourselves hoarse demanding that the innocent Kukis be granted justice by bringing perpetrators of the genocide to book.

“Freedom and security, justice for people in the land are not free commodities. We have to fight for them. We have been fighting for them, and we shall never cease the fight till we see justice done. We shall carry on, however long the road. This must be our promise to our brothers and sisters who have been slain, Kukis who have marked our territories with their blood”, said the KNO chief.

He urged every Kuki to rise above petty considerations of tribe, dialect and region to stand united in their demand for justice for martyrs, and join the cry for self-determination of the Kuki people on their land.

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