After Nagas, Kukis now demand a state of their own – Manipur

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Another political crisis seems to be in the offing in Manipur with the Kukis campaigning for their ‘own’ state

Ratnadip Choudhury | Tehelka.com | Imphal

Manipur quietly waits for a crisis to unfold yet again with the 3.5 lakh strong Kuki community demanding a separate Kuki state, a Kukiland, to be curved out of Manipur. The demand is being vehemently opposed by other ethnic groups, making space for another conflict in a state known for its fragile ethnic divide.

Ever since Manipur faced an economic blockade last year in demand of a separate district in the Kuki heartland of Sadar Hills, the chasm between the hill and the valley has widened further on lines of ethnicity. The blockade lasted more than hundred days, with the Central and state governments doing almost nothing to end the standoff.

The Nagas, the second largest ethnic group of Manipur after the Meiteis, have been asking for a separate administrative set up, with the United Naga Council (UNC) spearheading the movement. In the Imphal valley, people consider UNC’s agenda as more of a shadow of National Socialist Council of Nagaland (NSCN-IM) demand of greater Nagaland that will include the Naga villages of Manipur, Assam and Arunachal Pradesh. The Meiteis, whether intellectual groups, or the from the underground or the common man on streets, all in one voice oppose the idea and Manipur has already seen enough protest warning New Delhi not to compromise with the landlocked state’s territorial integrity.

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