Kuki Insurgency : Explained – UPSC GS3

Demographic Details:
  • In Manipur, the various Kuki tribes, living mainly in the hills, currently make up 30% of the total population of the State.
  • The rest of the population of Manipur is made up mainly of two other ethnic groups:
    • the Meiteis or non-tribal, Vaishnavite Hindus who live in the valley region of Manipur,
    • the Naga tribes, historically at loggerheads with the Kukis, also living in the hilly areas of the State.
Roots of Kuki Insurgency:
  • Kuki-Naga Conflict:
    • The roots of Kuki militancy lie in conflicts of ethnic identity.
    • The Kuki insurgency in Manipur grew in real terms in the 1980s and after the Kuki-Naga conflicts of the 1990s.
    • This is when the Kuki National Organization (KNO) and its armed wing Kuki National Army (KNA) were formed.
    • The Kuki-Naga conflict was started over securing identity and land as some Kuki inhabited areas coincided with Naga inhabited areas.
    • Even though clashes have reduced in recent decades, tensions between the two ethnic groups still exist.
  • Demand for Kukiland:
    • Demand for self-determination solely for groups belonging to their ethnic fabric which includes Kuki inhabited regions of Myanmar, Manipur, Assam and Mizoram.
    • At present, the demand has come to the formulation of an independent district which was formed under the sixth schedule of the Constitution.
Where do the Kukis stand today? 
  • The Kuki insurgent groups have been under Suspension of Operation (SoO) since 2005 when they signed an agreement for the same with the Indian Army.
  • In 2008, the groups entered a tripartite agreement with the State government of Manipur and the Central government to temporarily suspend their operations and give political dialogue a chance.
  • The temporary SoO agreements were made in order to start a political dialogue about giving some form of self-determination to the Kukis.
  • The SoO has been extended by the Government almost every year since 2008, with Kuki outfits threatening to breach the agreement by taking up arms again and boycotting the Government.
  • In 2012, the groups held a nearly eight-month-long blockade of highways around their area, costing the Government a couple of crores in losses each day.
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