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Kukiland is a threat to national security of India

The climate of Manipur is conducive for growing poppies and SoO militants have become the private army of those drug lords and mafias.

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By B Nandakumar Sharma

The Kukis have occupied sizable territories in Manipur which earlier belonged to other ethnic communities especially the Nagas, Meiteis and other smaller groups either by coercing or intimidation and sometimes by using force. 

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The Nagas (Kuki-Naga clashes 1992–1995); Hmar (Kuki-Hmar clashes 1959–1960); Paite (Kuki-Paite clash 1997–1998); Tamil  (Kukis- Tamils Clashes in 1995) and Meitei (the current Kuki-Meitei clashes since 03 May 23) are some of the examples which Kukis are trying dominate others’ territories by force. 

The above incidents have forced many small business communities like Punjabis, Malayalis, Tamils, Nepalis (Gorkha), Marwaris, and native people like Nagas and Meiteis to flee from Moreh in Tengnoupal district, Chandel, Kangpokpi and Churachandpur where Kukis are dominated over the last thirty years. 

There are nearly 30 Kuki insurgent groups in Manipur under the umbrella of UPF and KNO, of which 25 are under tripartite Suspension of Operations (SoO) with the Government of Manipur and India. 

Their political aim is to form an independent state under the Constitution of India and then tacitly moved toward a separate country called Kukiland/Zalengam/Zoland/Zomiland, consisting of Chin & Kachin State of Myanmar including some parts of Assam, Nagaland, Manipur, Tripura, Mizoram state and Chittagong Hill tracts. 

Zoramthanga, a former militant-turned-politician, who is heading the present Government of Mizoram supports this movement. The ITLF, a recently formed civil society organization (CSO) of the Kuki community in Manipur is aligned with the demand of SoO militant groups as told by its spokesperson Mr. Ginza Vualzong. 

Thang Lian Pau, a Chin-Kuki, Burmese resident illegally staying in Manipur’s Churachandpur district, is the president of the ZRO and he said, “The aims and objectives of the Zomi are more achievable under the constitution or political system of India. Since India recognized that we are fighting for our rights and not just a rebel group whereas, in Burma, all armed groups are considered enemies of the state”.

Manipur is strategically located for trade and commerce activities in the ASEAN region. Controlling these areas will generate a lot of revenue.  At present the political aim of an independent nation is not achievable, therefore they are demanding a separate state like Mizoram by splitting Manipur. 

The climate of Manipur is conducive for growing poppies and SoO militants have become the private army of those drug lords and mafias. They received huge funding from the drug mafia and narco-terrorism, therefore, the arms and ammunition they have are the most sophisticated and latest available technology. 

According to a report by the Director of the Intelligence Bureau, around 1,25,000 acres of hill areas are under poppy cultivation in Manipur, out of which 100,000 acres are in the Kuki-dominated areas. 

Some common villagers and illegal immigrants from Myanmar undertake poppy cultivation with huge profit margins. After the death of Khun Sa, the international drug trafficking route of the infamous Golden Triangle was shifted towards Manipur. Kuki has money from drugs and firepower from SOO militants, so they have become very powerful narco-terrorists in the region.

We noted earlier that the Kukis have written to the United Nations for a separate country and to the Prime Minister of Israel for their help. Their side of the cooked-up story is heard by the Christian community and EU parliament. This clearly shows their intent to be a separate country from India. They could even mobilize the Christian community around the world despite the fact that most of the victims in the ethnic conflict are Meiteis. 

No doubt, the Kuki community suffered casualties at Imphal in the initial stages of the crisis only. Thereafter all the firing and killings are done by the Kuki armed groups with sophisticated weapons. 

Already the trade and commerce route of India towards the western side is blocked by Pakistan. Carving of Kukiland/Zalengam/Zoland/Zomiland from Manipur will have absolute control over this strategic location and contain India in extending trade and commerce towards ASEAN countries. 

It is a desperate attempt to contain India from becoming an economic superpower. The crisis at hand is a threat to national security. Immediate attention to disarming Kuki militants can only control the present law and order situation in Manipur.     

The write is a retired Indian Air Force Officer.

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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