Kukis decry justice undone at tribute ceremony
CCPUR/IMPHAL11th Sep: Day one of the three-day long 25th Sahnit-Ni (Black Day) observance which got underway on Tuesday at Tuiboung Kuki Inpi, Churachandpur was marked by organising committee chairman Letzamang Haokip lashing out at both the state and central governments for denying justice to 1157 Kuki people slain during the Kuki-Naga clash in 1990s.
In his address to a large gathering of Kuki citizens and civil society leaders who came to pay tribute to the Kuki victims of the clash as well as unveiling of three memorial plaques, Letzamang contended that 1157 Kuki men, women and children were mercilessly slaughtered by NSCN-IM cadres under the stated objective of the outfit to establish Nagalim.
In between 1992 to 1997, thousands of Kuki were decimated by NSCN-IM while over 350 Kuki villages burnt to ashes as the fully armed cadres of the Naga outfit went on the offensive to displace Kuki villagers from their ancestral places, he recounted.
Maintaining that the worst affected villages of the NSCN-IM onslaught included Gelnel, Santing, Nungthuk and Joupi wherein 115 villagers were either shot dead, speared or knifed in a single day on September 13, the committee chairman said Sahnit-Ni is being observed in memory of those who faced brutal death on the said at day at the hands of NSCN-IM.
Further stating that Kukis all overall the world have been observing Sahnit-Ni to mourn the death of innocent villagers and to remind all concerned about the sinister scheme of NSCN-IM, he continued that the ethnic cleaning resulted in displacement of 1.5 lakh Kuki villagers.
Even though NSCN-IM carried on the Kuki genocide for five years neither the state nor the Central government of that period cared to intervene to protect lives of innocent Kukis, Letzamang said and lamented that the present regimes are also yet to take any suitable actions to deliver justice to the Kuki victims.
The observance is being held every year to mourn the deaths, in remembrance of the hardships and heartache being endured by the survivors of the ethnic cleansing, to renew pledge and remind all Kuki brethren that safeguarding the Kuki ancestral lands from adversary elements should be the responsibility of the present and future generations, he stressed.
While questioning rationale and intention of the Central government in denying justice to the Kuki victims for over two decades, the chairman expressed strong resentment that NSCN-IM leader Th Muivah is being engaged in peace talks by the Centre instead of making him face trial for slaughtering innocent Kuki people.
Stating that the demand for homeland and administrative rights is justifiable as both state and central governments have failed to protect the Kukis, he contended that the governments ignoring sentiment and aspiration of the Kuki community speaks volume about lack of compassion to address the grievances of Kukis on the part of the authorities concerned.
Earlier, the memorial stones were jointly unveiled by Letzamang, Kuki Inpi Manipur president Haojakam Chongloi, JACAC Diphu (Assam) chairman Khorsing Teron and Singpho Development Society secretary Ongyun Miao.
Traditional gun salute by Kuki village chiefs and floral tributes were also offered to victims of the Kuki genocide by leaders of Kuki Inpi units, student organisations, civil societies, Kuki village chiefs and common people.
One minute silence was also observed on the occasion. Ahead of the main commemorative event on September 13, observance committee leaders also appealed to all sections of the society to pray for the peaceful repose of the departed souls in their heavenly abode.
Speaking on the occasion, Kuki Inpi Churachandpur president Daniel Gangte recounted that the most painful part of the Kuki genocide was the NSCN-IM serving quit notices to villagers from their ancestral lands.
Noting that the armed outfit unleashed reign of terror out of greed to grab Kuki territories, he noted with regret that soon after serving the quit notices no time or chance was given to the villagers to explain their position as NSCN-IM cadres went on the rampage and slayed even innocent children and women.
As a part of the observance, an invocation prayer was offered by Rev Khuala Vaiphei, followed by release of Sahnit-Ni souvenir by ZoRO GHQ Aizawl president Sangkawia and dedication prayer by