KUKI TRIBES

  • The Kukis are an ethnic group that includes multiple tribes inhabiting the North-Eastern India, parts of Burma, and Sylhet and Chittagong hill tracts of Bangladesh.
  • The Kuki people are believed to be the native to the Mizo Hills.
  • The Kukis are also known as Lushai, Darlongs, Rokhums and among the Burma boarder they are known as Chins.
  • The major population of Kuki is in Manipur, Mizoram, Tripura and Myanmar. However, they are present in all NE states except Arunachal.
  • About 50 percent of the Kuki people in India are recognized as scheduled tribe based on the dialect spoken and region of origin.
  • The Chin people of Myanmar and the Mizo people of Mizoram are kindred tribes of the Kuki and collectively known as the Zo people.
  • In Manipur the Kuki tribe makes up about 30 percent of the total population
  • The demand for a separate “Kukiland” dates back to the late 1980s, when the first and largest of the Kuki-Zomi insurgent groups, the Kuki National Organization (KNO), came into being. The demand has surfaced periodically ever since.
  • The territory of “Kukiland” included the Sadar Hills (which surround the Imphal valley on three sides), the Kuki-dominated Churachandpur district, Chandel, which has a mix of Kuki and Naga populations, and even parts of Naga-dominated Tamenglong and Ukhrul.
  • Sections of the Kuki-Zomi community have maintained that the tribal areas “are yet to be a part of the Indian Union”.
  • They have contended that after the defeat of the king of Manipur in the 1891 Anglo-Manipur war, the kingdom became a British protectorate, but the lands of the Kuki-Zomi were not part of the agreement.
  • However, unlike the Naga demand for a separate country, Kuki only seeking a separate state within the Indian Union.
  • The Kukiland demand is rooted in the idea of the Zale’n-gam, or ‘land of freedom’.
  • Some Kuki-Zomi people, especially the insurgent groups, contest the dominant narrative that their ancestors were brought from the Kuki-Chin hills of Burma by the British political agent and settled around the Imphal valley to protect the Manipur kingdom from the plundering Naga raiders of the north

SOURCE: THE HINDU, THE ECONOMIC TIMES, PIB

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