KSO seeks Amit Shah’s intervention
IMPHAL, 14th Oct: A day after the state government issued an order to remove memorial stones with the inscription ‘in defence of our ancestral land and freedom’ to be erected as part of Anglo-Kuki War centenary celebration, Kuki Students’ Organisation (KSO) has approached Union home minister Amit Shah and sought his immediate intervention so as to ensure withdrawal of the order.
The Delhi and NCR unit of KSO submitted a memorandum in this regard to Amit Shah and copies of the same to Manipur chief minister N Biren Singh and Governor Najma Heptulla on Monday.
While strongly condemning Manipur government for issuing the order and for evading its constitutional responsibility of providing security to commemorators of Anglo-Kuki War, the memorandum demanded immediate withdrawal of the order.
The memorandum also asked Manipur government whether it is objectionable to celebrate the centenary of Kuki freedom movement against the British, define the freedom movement on the stone as ‘In Defence of our Ancestral Land and Freedom’ and remember the selfless sacrifice of the freedom fighters. Further asking if the celebration of freedom movement against British colonialism was against the Constitution or against the law of the land, the memorandum demanded answers to these questions from the chief minister of Manipur and asked the chief minister to resign if he could not provide answers.
According to the KSO memorandum, Kuki people of India have been commemorating the centenary of the Anglo-Kuki War 1917-1919 since 2017. However, the government of Manipur issued an order on October 13 that amounts to stopping the celebration altogether.
The memorandum also apprised the Union Home minister that Kuki people of Northeast India had fought against the occupying British colonial state in 1917-1919 and it was known in colonial account as ‘Kuki Rebellion’, which is known to be the largest, the most serious, and the most formidable war the British had fought in the entire Northeastern region of India. This is a well-known event in the history of India’s freedom movement carried out by the tribal communities. It was the Government of India’s (GoI) policy to bring up many such tribal freedom movements into the mainstream history and commemoration and a commitment in this regard too was given by Prime Minister Narendra Modi during his speech on the occasion of 70th Independence Day celebration.
Although the Anglo-Kuki War 1917-1919 was the largest and well-known anti-colonial movement in the whole Northeast India, Kukis have remained the victim of ethnic politics in the region. As a result, this most memorable event in the history of the region has been now reduced to almost an insignificant event due to lack of state patronage and ethnically driven politics of remembering. It was mainly due to this lack of official backing that the Kuki people of the region have been celebrating the contribution of their forefathers in freedom movements as their community’s celebration. For Kukis it is an event that cannot be forgotten. On the hundredth year of the Anglo-Kuki War, the Kukis decided to celebrate the event for three years from 2017 to 2019. This year (2019) is the last year of the series and organisers decided to erect memorial stone in all the Kuki villages so that the memory of the valiant sacrifice of their forefathers for freedom remains immortal in their memory. Since the war was fought against the occupying British colonialist and against the spirit of freedom, just as it was to every Indian who fell under colonial rule, Kukis decided to uniformly inscribe ‘In Defence of our Ancestral Land and Freedom’ on all the memorial stones, the memorandum explained.