KIM questions Govt nod to Gaidinliu-centric museum project

KANGPOKPI, 2nd Sep: Kuki Inpi Manipur (KIM) on September 1 submitted a representation to chief minister N Biren Singh conveying its strong disapproval and opposition regarding Manipur’s presentation on Tribal Freedom Fighters’ Museum before the National Level Committee and appealed for urgent rectification.
The representation signed by KIM president Khaimang Chongloi and general secretary Shokholun Mate appreciated the government’s initiative saying it will restore and strengthen the relationship between the government and the entire tribal populace in building trust and reliance towards one another as it seeks to promote the message of oneness while discouraging all sorts of discrimination or segregation and thereby fostering brotherhood among all citizens of this big and beautiful country.
KIM, however, expressed its stern disapproval of Manipur’s presentation on Tribal Freedom Fighters’ Museum before the National Level Committee held on February 11-13, 2019 under the chairpersonship of the secretary of Tribal Affairs for various reasons.
Firstly, the arbitrary naming of the Tribal Freedom Fighters’ Museum after Rani Gaidinliu without prior consent of the tribal population is an outright insult to the tribal freedom fighters, especially against the Kuki freedom fighters and secondly, the proposed location is not appropriate and can only flare up communal disharmony as there are no tribal freedom fighters in oral as well as recorded history hailing from that particular region and which has only been designed to nefariously promote Naga political demands, it claimed.
KIM opined that in fact, it is extremely regrettable that the government of Manipur must ignorantly promote biased representations, blinding itself of the historical facts and figures and of the true freedom fighters and historical events that took place during the years of the struggle for Independence especially within the North eastern region. This may unfortunately and inevitably infer that the government is conspiring to distort history and undermine the glory of the bravery and sacrifices of the Kuki freedom fighters which will only be an administrative drawback inviting unnecessary disquiet in the state and for which the government will be solely responsible, it warned.
The Kuki body pointed out that during the course of the British withdrawal from India and the then sovereign country of the Kukis, their neighbouring princely states did not face a stronger resistance than that of the Anglo-Kuki War 1917-1919 where the British Imperial Army suffered innumerable losses in the hands of the Kuki freedom fighters right until the British resorted to burning the Kuki villages and livestock and threatening the lives of the Kuki civilians in order to force the freedom fighters to surrender.
Ironically, the British Indian Army was reportedly aided by the ‘Kacha Nagas’ who settled amongst the Kukis and were protected by the Kuki chiefs and were glibly influenced by the British Army. They subsequently acted as informants for the British forces reporting on the presence and activities of the Kuki freedom fighters that immensely contributed to the strength of the British forces, it further alleged.
KIM while drawing urgent attention and immediate action from the state and authorities concerned on the stated points, it observed that the proposed museum must be located in a common tribal area or anywhere within Greater Imphal or most preferably in Lamka, the largest tribal township in Manipur which houses the largest and most diverse tribal population in the state.
If the location cannot be finalised within these mentioned places and boundaries, the government must separate the proposed museum into Kuki Freedom Fighters’ Museum and Naga Freedom Fighters’ Museum respectively and also subsequently place the necessary decisions on the respective apex bodies, it suggested.
KIM demanded that the stated historical write-up/information on tribal freedom fighters and tribal revolts against the British rule in Manipur submitted to the Tribal Ministry by Manipur must be shown to the Kuki Inpi Manipur for necessary rectification. The government must honourably regard the Kukis and their unique history and identity and must always approach the Kukis in whatsoever matters that concern the Kukis, it added.
KIM also asserted that the Tribal Freedom Fighters’ Museum must only be built with prior knowledge, acknowledgement and consent of the Kukis so that the proposed museum will justify its true purpose of serving as a resource centre for providing information on tribal culture and tradition, to which every newcomer to Manipur and the resident population will flock to and see the struggles and contribution made by the tribal freedom fighters. It further cautioned that if the government does not consider their suggestions then Kuki Inpi Manipur will not be responsible for any uncertainties which may be caused by the Kukis.

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