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An Open Letter to Zoramthanga, Chief Minister of Mizoram

Communal skirmishes will never end but Confucius says before you embark on a journey of revenge, dig two graves. I have been pondering over this quote for a while now.

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Mr. Zoramthanga 

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Honourable Chief Minister of Mizoram

Greetings from Manipur

As a concerned citizen of this country, I take this opportunity to write you this letter. 

Well done sir, you recently led a mammoth procession in support of the Zou Kuki community of Churachandpur in the heart of Aizawl against Mr Biren, Honourable Chief Minister of Manipur. You allow people to carry nasty placards that write and display a lot of vulgarities against Mr Biren, who had such respect for you.

If you ever advise them to do the same then nothing could be more disgraceful than you. Mr. Biren will never do that against you the way you did because he respects you as a mature and senior political leader of the northeast.  

In the annals of post-colonial chapters of Indian politics, the Chief Minister of a state had never headed a human procession against the Chief Minister of another state in such an unbecoming and unorthodox fashion.   

This way you breached the sanctity of the Chief Minister’s office not only of Manipur but also to all the states of the Indian nation and its Chief Minister’s offices that function under the ambit of the Constitution. It is shameful, quite shameful. 

What Chief Ministers of other states must have perceived about you is something you should judge yourself. Sir, you need to tender a gentleman’s apology over the phone call to Mr. Biren, Honourable CM of Manipur. That would speak volumes of your wisdom as a responsible Chief Minister of Mizoram.

Sir, you are endeavouring to support a mixed section of people, known as the Kuki Zou community who are by and large illegal immigrants from Chin state of Myanmar into Manipur in recent years that you dearly called cousins from across the border. They wanted to form a greater Mizoram and you seemed to be very happy hearing these fairy tales. 

Myanmar-based Kuki National Army (KNA) also wants to form an Independent Sovereign Kuki state by carving out Kuki-populated parts of Myanmar and ironically part of Thoubal, Ukhrul and Chandel districts of Manipur.

Kuki National Front Presidium (KNFP) and Kuki National Front Military Council (KNF-MC) also want to form what is called them ‘Kuki Homeland’ in Manipur where they would like to have a separate administration.

Zomi Revolutionary Army (ZRA) wishes to unite all the Zomi inhabited areas in India mostly in Churachandpur of Manipur, Bangladesh and Myanmar while little known Kuki Liberation Army (KLA) and Kuki Liberation Front (KLF) are fighting for reuniting Kuki inhabited areas of the northeastern region including Manipur, Assam, Tripura, Bangladesh and Myanmar for a Kuki Homeland. 

Mizoram, rather, needs to be on guard and alert. The Kuki Chin groups they embrace dearly may perhaps demand a separate Kuki land in Mizoram too. There is every possibility. 

Reunion of the Zou Kuki community in the form of greater Mizoram is not practical at all. Those Bengalis living in Bangladesh and West Bengal might be having a desire to reunite as a nation as they speak the same language. But they never do that.

If this law is acceptable, then Meeties have every right to demand a homeland in Myanmar, Bangladesh and Assam. But why should one do this? It could be a desire but it would not happen. It is often a bad dream. 

All the Kuki Zou communities who cry for a singular basis of a generalised nomenclature would not happen and it will endure as chimera for all the time to come. 

Kukis were first heard in Manipur between 1830 and 1840 during Maharaj Narsingh’s reign. The nomenclature Kuki was coined by the British for their administrative convenience, to be able to identify various tribes. Otherwise, they are known by many names but to the Meeteis they are collectively known as Khongsai. They are the old Kukis. They have long been loyal subjects to the King of Manipur. 

Suddenly a large number of similar tribes poured into the hill tracts of Manipur in 1845 in such numbers that they could drive away the older inhabitants. It is clearly documented by Sir James Johnstone, in his book ‘Manipur and Naga Hills’ that these Kukis have been driven out by close kindred cousins but more powerful tribes from the far north. Fortunately, political Agent Lieutenant MacCulloch who was later promoted to Colonel had dealt with such migrant issues in a proper way. Manipur during those days, had intestine quarrels and Raja Narsingh could not give much attention to the migrants and Raja had gladly handed over the management of the new arrivals to the Colonel. 

The first object of the new arrival was land for paddy cultivation. Colonel MacCulloch allotted land at different parts of Manipur according to their numbers. He was of the view that their presence would be useful at the exposed frontier of Manipur 

The population of Kukis has swelled up in Manipur like a flood gate is opening in the recent past that everyone knows. The new arrivals of this century never asked for land for paddy cultivation Mr. Biren, this time, they asked land for poppy cultivation. Biren offers them cold and chilled water in the summer heat but they ask for blood, the blood of our youths, blood of the nation in the form of Vampire.  How this could go on like this? 

My countrymen, my fellow north easterners let us embark on a serious calculation. Please reach out for your calculator and let us figure out how they earn money at the cost of our lives and our youths. This data is official and has gone viral in social media.

That, 10 to 12 thousand poppy seeds are costing an amount of Rs 1,500 approximately. 

That, one acre of land can produce 30 kgs of Heroin/opium/morphine within six months and can be harvested twice in a year. 

In the international market one Kg of heroin costs Rs 7 crores. In Manipur, it can fetch 4.5 crores.

That, in the calculation 4 crores x 304 crores x 30 = Rs 120 crores in six months by investing a meagre amount of Rs. 1,500 and Rs 240 crore in a year from one acre of land by investing Rs. 3000.

It is unbelievable but true that 24,500 acres are poppy-cultivated areas in Manipur that are mostly in the hilly section. For easy calculation 24,000x30x2x4 in a year is Rs. 57,60,0000 (Fifty-seven lakhs and sixty thousand crores) in a single year while the Indian total budget in a year is 42 lakh crores. This easy money is finding its way to mainland India and they can put their concocted narratives in the mouths of many national TV anchors and may have been heavily greased to write distorted one-side stories. 

This is the gravest issue of all time that could cause a catastrophe.  Please don’t leave it alone to the Meetie but it is a business to be seriously dealt with. One needs to crater and fathom the magma that is surely to burst out with an astounding velocity.  This is a concern for all who matter and feel the preciousness of humanity. 

Meeteis being settled on the far end frontier of the country, have suffered and many precious lives have been snuffed away to the bullets of the snipers of these predators but the same fate may befall you as well if not prevented timely.

CM Biren sprung up at a point in time when we needed him the most.  Every one of us here, we feel, had Biren not executed this surgical strike in time, then Manipur would have been doomed into a modern Golden Triangle, a breeding ground of cocaine and heroin ultimately to feed our younger generation. 

We have lost many precious lives, dear and loved ones to many parents. Amidst blood and tears, the Meeteis realized they were late to strike but never too late to save the generation. 

What Mr. Biren did was to protect our ancestral land which has a proud legacy of 2000 years old written history from these illegal immigrants that are outnumbering the indigenous people sooner than later. 

The Indian Government needs to lend an ear to this alarming situation. If the growing population of illegal immigrants in Manipur is viewed as the case of a mass exodus of foreigners from East Pakistan to India in 1972 then the concept of India would be wrong.  

Bangladeshi migrants came empty-handed merely for survival and they have scattered all around the country not settled or confined at a particular point. 

But here, these countless rough migrants thronged in juggernaut to Manipur through the porous border, equipped with lethal automatic rifles. They wanted to convert the whole hilly region of Manipur into a poppy farm. Whosoever stood against them would be massacred has become the rule.  

Biren, in spite of all these unwanted scenes being developed from time to time, did his best to have harmonious coexistence. He adopted a new policy to efficiently administer ‘a healing touch’ remedy to the hilly section which is “Go to the Hills”. Many believe this approach would bridge the already damaged relations between the Hills and Valley of Manipur.  His commitment is to bring equal development for all. That is the reason why there were a series of Cabinet Meetings in the hills. This way his cabinet colleagues can directly deliver the shortfalls instantly to the people of the district.

Sir, in conclusion, I would like to convey this message to my Kuki brothers, whom the Meeteis have been breathing the same air for centuries, sharing water of the same pond through you. But my message is not necessarily for the narco-terrorist militants, who enjoy local hospitality in the Churachandpur district. 

Please take it as a post-mortem of what happened after the unwanted event that sent Manipur into a spill on May 3rd, 2023 that is continuing till this day. I am simply to reiterate that the man that sparks the first fire that torched the Meitei houses in Churachandpur on the fateful night of 3rd May is a devil.  The violence that spread like wildfire across Manipur was the follow-up of the crime perpetrated against the Meeteis on that night. Meeteis have nothing to say when they burnt crore worth of government offices and properties. That was between the government and protesters. But why target the minority Meeteis, who needed their support for a harmonious co-existence?

Those miscreants and section of contaminated people (not all) of Churachandpur must have well pondered the fate and consequences that might occur to the wealthy Kuki families in Imphal and at the peripheries of the valley before they trigger the unpardonable heinous crimes. Those masterminds in Churachandpur that plotted the nefarious design were not ready to believe that Meeteis would also wake up and react in an ‘eye for an eye’ way. Thinking Kuki houses in Imphal would be well protected by salaried Manipur police forces and while in Churachandpur they would go scot-free was something premature in human psychology. Saving Manipur is the uppermost job for the Meeteis and this message was not lost to the Manipuri Police personnel too.   

Ego and senseless communal chauvinism of SoO elements in Churachandpur, Kangpokpi and Moreh never concern their fellow Kuki Chin communities in the valley while they are on far safer islands. Such an act doesn’t prove their love for other fellow Kuki people. The same is the case when some stubborn Kuki underground elements started laying hands on Nagas in Moreh in 1991, many innocent and poor Kuki people had to pay the price.  

I would also like to remind everyone that Meeteis never touched even a single Naga during the great June uprising, in 2001. Neither Nagas ever attempted to attack the Meeteis.

Mertie’s anguish was not against the Naga people but to the Government of Manipur and legislatures, whom they have elected. 

Kuki Chin brothers also ought to remember the role Meeteis took during the communal feud of 1992. When the endless slaying of Kuki people continues unabated, it is Meeteis that save them by giving shelter while we don’t lose the sentiment and love for our Naga brothers.

Mr. Biren, the present Chief Minister, was one of the headliners in the pursuit of the Kuki evacuation mission from the innermost peripheries of this land. I was also in his team during those days and hardly did we have time to have even a nice meal. Having said so, we were never against our Naga brothers. The mission was towards the restoration of peace and communal harmony.

Sir, I don’t think we can go long this way. Let us live peacefully as before. Please don’t patronise negative elements. Let us skip off the separate administration and greater Mizoram concept from the agenda. And, together let us fight back those intruders that come here to disturb our existence.

Communal skirmishes will never end but Confucius says before you embark on a journey of revenge, dig two graves. I have been pondering over this quote for a while now.

Sir, what does it sound to you? To me, if someone is wandering around to seek revenge, he might also destroy, not only the people he takes revenge on but also himself. 

Lastly, please accept my greetings. I wish if you ever take this letter in the right perspective then my writing of this letter to you is amply rewarded.

Yours Sincerely 

R.K. Shivachandra Singh


Indo Myanmar Fraternal Alliance

Imphal, Manipur. 

The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of the NEA.

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