UNRAVELLING THE GENESIS OF MANIPUR CRISIS
Imphal: “Zalengam Files”, a classified document recovered from the debris of Nazareth, the burnt down designated camp of a Kuki SoO militant group at the Sugnu/Serou areas in Kakching district of Manipur reveals that the current ethnic violence is the careful execution of a malicious planning that started in 1980 and execution on May 3, 2023 to realize the dream of a “Kuki Nation” or “Zalenngam.”
The secret document, apparently of a Kuki militant leader, was found by a villager of Serou who fled to a safer place when Serou village came under attack on 27-28 May 2023 by Kuki rioters during which an elderly Meitei widow (83 years) of a freedom fighter was burnt alive.
The entries of the document are very brief and straightforward and comprises of 5 chapters which details the different steps to be taken up towards the journey to the Kuki nation or Zalengam.
Each chapter deals with activities to be taken up every year with 1980 to 89 making up the first chapter detailing the focus on building resources. Notably, the infamous Kuki-Naga clash broke out in the early ninties.
These chapters whose para wise contents were published in a local vernacular daily recently include building a Kuki intellectual class who would publish documents, magazines to forge and create a credible Kuki history.
Clubbed together under building resources is the strategy to infiltrate Indian administrative services and build a resource pool and offer service to help fight enemies of India (like the Chinese and the Meitei insurgent groups)
1990 to 1999 is covered under second chapter of the Zalengam file and focuses on occupying and demarcating Kuki inhabited areas. This plan is to be executed by increasing the Kuki population in Churachandpur, Chandel and Kangpokpi districts in order to gain political autonomy under the Indian constitution. As part of expanding the Kuki inhabited areas, these ‘increased Kuki population will occupy land/forest and also assimilate smaller tribes into the Kuki fold.
Considering the gainful economic aspects of the international border town of Moreh, the classified document enlists priority to dominate Moreh with the help of Indian military in order to have direct control of the economic gateway to the East. The chapter also speaks of the need to strengthen ties with Indian military and intelligence by convincing them that the Kuki-Chin can tackle the Naga and the Meitei insurgency.
The third chapter covering 2000 to 2009 concentrates on the need to groom millennial and Gen Z to keep the objectives of the Kukis in prime focus and project Meiteis as the sworn enemies of the Kukis.
It also highlights the need to build narratives of rich-poor, the difference in living conditions between the Kukis and the Meiteis to assert clearly the need for complete separation from Manipur.
This chapter also emphases on playing identity politics to build an image of the Chin-Kuki-Zo community by creating a common history such as the Anglo-Kuki-War-Memorial so that all Kuki tribes can be integrated against a single enemy.
This also entails inciting hatred against the Meiteis. The classified file also advocates focusing on drug business to ensure non-stop revenue for Zalengam.
2010-2019 is covered as the fourth chapter of Zalengam file and it is further divided in phase 1 and phase 2. Under phase 1, extensive recruitment and military training and use of firearms are focused.
Some of the entries in it says, “to confuse people with SoO while building a cache of arms, to carry out illegal activities under the protection of the Indian Army. To strengthen ties with the Indian Army and Intelligence agencies based on Geopolitics. To establish relationships between politicians and Kuki Militants. To keep politicians under the Kuki militants and strengthen identity politics. Target the Meiteis keeping the Nagas aside. We cannot face the two at once. 1992-93 Naga-Kuki war must not be forgotten. Spread the venom of Identity Politics and sever the bonds with Manipur and preparing Gen Z.”
Phase 2, which is the fifth chapter, deals with post 2020 period and appears like a check list of the preparedness for the final execution. It talks of preparing human resource for separate administration, playing up identity politics, keeping up the rhetoric against Meiteis as sworn enemy of the Kuki or rather the tribals and ensuring whether the propaganda factory and the Christian network are up and running.
Then came the May 3, 2023, the Tribal Solidarity Peace Rally of the All Tribals Students’ Union of Manipur. The SPARK, the culmination of 40 years of meticulous planning.