KNO says no to oil exploration

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IMPHAL, January 22:(NNN) The Kuki National Organisation (KNO) has firmly opposed oil exploration in Churachandpur and parts of Tamenglong districts of Manipur, claiming that they are the ancestral land of the Kuki people.

In a memorandum submitted to the Prime Minister of India today, KNO, one of the two umbrella organisations of the Kuki militant outfits claimed that Churachandpur and parts of Tamenglong districts are the integral part of Kuki ancestral lands. “Kuki National Organisation firmly resolves to oppose the current process of oil exploration in these regions,” it said.

The KNO said Kukis are a deprived people. “In the state of Manipur, apart from economic and political exploitation, discrimination and outright deprivation at the hands of the Meitei people dominated state Government, our people have also suffered immense atrocities at the hands of National Socialist Council of Nagalim (Isak & Muivah) and the valley-based Meitei insurgent groups,” the KNO alleged.

“Our cries for justice and intervention by the Centre as well as by the state Government have been categorically ignored. Neither the Centre nor the state have initiated a single attempt to address the plight and needs of the Kuki people,” the KNO memorandum signed by its president PS Haokip added.

KNO said it appreciates the government`s commitment to begin political dialogue and so have given written assurance on November 13, 2012, prior to the ASEAN car rally passing through Moreh. “However, till date, the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) have not invited KNO to sign extension of Suspension of Operation (SoO). More crucially, the government of India has not started dialogue with KNO. Therefore, in the midst of such persistent and stark unequal treatment, KNO resolves strongly to not permit the Centre and state Governments to exploit our natural resources, especially in regard to oil in Churachandpur and parts of Tamenglong districts,” the KNO further alleged.

KNO then said it cannot envisage its God-given natural resources to be exploited by authorities (especially the state Government, but not least the Central Government), which have never taken the time to assuage the Kuki people`s hurts and outright deprivations. It then said KNO will only consider oil exploration at Churachandpur and parts of Tamenglong districts to continue only when there is concrete deliberation from Government for the Kukis` political self-rule, which will ensure their direct participation and fair entitlement of benefits and proceeds for the Kukis.

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