By Alex Guite
LAMKA, July 14: The Zomi Reunification Organisation, ZRO president Thanglianpau Guite who is also the general secretary of United People Front, UPF has said that he is an ardent supporter of unity among the tribal, particularly the Zomi and the Kuki goup.
Speaking to a select group of media at their base camp at Songtal Village, he said it was the right time for the movement when he took up revolutionary cause of the Zomi-Zosuan in 1993.
He said he was however, saddened by the ways of UPF and KNO of accentuating the little differences while ignoring the bigger similarities among the tribes, which has only provided pasture for those wanting to divide them.
He called for a unity oriented vision which will help in making their collective voice heard instead on meddling in narrow politics.
“We are fighting for an ‘unborn child’ and the name should be only decided after it is successful,” he said while referring to the various demands including a Kuki State or Zomi based names.
“Make no mistake, but we the descendants of Zo or Zomi, especially the non-Naga tribes of Manipur and elsewhere,” he asserted.
He continued we are the sons of Zo and the name Kuki is a “Bengali corrupted word” and came in used only after the British came to the hills of the present day Manipur.
Guite said, “We should look for unity and shun such nomenclature, for if such a nomenclature was to take centre stage, divisions are bound to challenge the common cause.”
On the question of the State government’s plan to implement the NLUP based on the Mizoram model in the hills of Manipur, Guite said that it is a development oriented Act and should be welcomed by all and that it has nothing to do with the Village Development Council.
“I’m a chief of a village myself, but there is an urgent need to reform the chieftainship as it is synonymous with dictatorship,” the leader said before quickly adding that until it is reformed, the people will have no real independence even though India had celebrated more than 60 Independence Day for the chief can do anything in his village.
He said it is our politician’s hunger for getting elected that is dividing the tribes particularly the Zo Suan and unless both the UPF and the KNO work in unison nothing momentous will be achieved.
He added that at several forums, he had himself champion unity with the “brothers who call themselves Kuki.”
While lauding the work of COPTAM, he observed it is unfortunate that some villages which fall under Churachandpur district are paying revenue to the Bishnupur administration.
“We already have a God given identity in Zo Suan, nevertheless, we continue to differ on the name, which needs to be look at at the earliest, if we want to succeed in our demands for a Zomi Autonomous Hill State or the Kuki State,” he continued.
The president also said that any demands of the Zo Suan would be very hard to achieve without the Nagas, as much as it is for the Nagas to achieve theirs without the Zo Suan.