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Kuki Chiefs Issue Clarion Call

IMPHAL, Apr 13: Kuki chief association of Sadar Hills in Manipur spoke in one voice saying that the Kukis have been an independent tribe in the hills of Manipur even before the incursion of the British, which the Rajas of Manipur have attested successively by not interfering into the affairs of the hills. A draft resolution for the extension of 6th schedule has also been passed.

Speaking in a program, “awareness campaign on the proposed Manipur (village authority in the hill areas) amendment act, 2011, and its effects on hill tribal lands”, organized by Sadar Hills Chief Association Manipur (SAHILCA) at council hall in Kangpokpi today, Tongpu Kipgen, president of SAHILCA vouched strongly about the independence of Kukis in the hills of Manipur. “The Kukis neither sign any sort of merger agreement with the Union of India nor sought compensation like the Raja of Manipur.” This singularly proves the independence of Kukis in the hills, he said.

R Sanga attended the awareness program as a resource person and addressed the gathering on the topic Manipur (village authority in hill areas). “The sole purpose of seeking amendment of Manipur hill village authority act, 1956, is to dominate and control the hills of Manipur,” he said.

He went on to say that even the government of India acknowledges the judiciary power vested on Kuki chiefs which are anchored on the customary laws of the Kukis. “In July 21, 1939, Manipur durbar excluded hill areas of Manipur from direct control.”

The amendment of the act has been a bone of contention with representatives from central Govt visiting Manipur three times over. Sanga asked if the State government does not take up positive initiation, how can one expect the central government to initiate the process.

The fact remains that for the tribal people in the hills of Manipur, there is no constitutional safeguard except for 371-C of the Constitution of India that provides for the institution of hill area committee, he argued.

(Courtesy: The Sangai Express)

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