Guwahati, April 8, 2019:
Ahead of the ensuing Lok Sabha elections which will begin on Thursday, village heads of Manipur are being threatened by the Kuki National Army (KNA) to ensure that 90% votes are cast for the BJP. Otherwise, they will be summoned and held responsible, then punished, threatens the rebel group.
Thangboi Haokip, the Commander of the KNA has issued the diktat at a gathering in D Muonnaphai village, Moreh where the village chiefs were present. Referring to BJP candidate for outer Manipur, HS Benjamin Mate, he warned that if required violence will be resorted to.
The Kuki National Organisation and its arm – the KNA were formed in 1988. The first batch of cadres, under the command of Thangkholun Haokip, was trained by the Kachin Independent Army in Myanmar. The KNA has an estimated strength of 600 cadres armed with an array of weapons like AK-Series, G-series, M-series, and 60mm mortar.
The main objective of the KNA is to bring all the Kuki-inhabited areas separated by the artificial boundary created in 1935 (specifically in the Kabaw valley of Myanmar) in Manipur under one administrative unit called ‘Zalengam’ (Land of freedom). In case the integration is not realized, the KNA aims at the creation of two Kuki states: one within Burma, ‘Eastern Zalengam’ and the other within India, ‘Western Zalengam’.
Moreover, two Manipuri insurgent groups have also requested the ruling BJP to give tickets to their favored candidate for the Outer Manipur parliamentary seat. In separate letters to BJP party president Amit Shah, the Zomi Re-unification Organisation (ZRO) and Kuki National Organisation (KNO) had sought BJP’s ticket for HS Benjamin Mate who is the vice president of BJP’s Manipur unit.