Kuki tribe of Manipur

Kuki tribe of Manipur 

News: Just before the first of the two phases of the Assembly Elections went underway in Manipur, all insurgent  groups associated with the Kuki tribes in Manipur said they will vote for a particular political party. 

Who are the Kukis? 
• The Kukis are an ethnic group including multiple tribes originally inhabiting the North-Eastern states of  India such as Manipur, Mizoram and Assam; parts of Burma (now Myanmar), and Sylhet district and  Chittagong hill tracts of Bangladesh. While Kuki is not a term coined by the ethnic group itself, the tribes  associated with it came to be generically called Kuki under colonial rule. 
• In Manipur, the various Kuki tribes, living mainly in the hills, currently make up 30% of the total 28.5 lakh  population of the State. While Churachandpur is their main stronghold, they also have a sizable population  in Chandel, Kangpokpi, Tengnoupal and Senapati districts. 
• 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, and the Naga tribes, historically at  loggerheads with the Kukis, also living in the hilly areas of the State. Of the 60 seats in the Manipur  Assembly, 40 are held by Meiteis and the rest 20 seats are held by Kukis and Nagas. 

Kuki insurgencies in Manipur: 
• 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. 
• Later, in 2008, the groups entered a tripartite agreement with the State government and the UPA led  Central government to temporarily suspend their operations and give political dialogue a chance. • Manipur, formerly a princely state including parts of Burma, made the accession into India after  Independence, but was only made a full-fledged State in 1972. The resentment over the “forceful” inclusion  into India and delay in granting statehood led to the rise of various insurgent movements. • The roots of Kuki militancy lie in conflicts of ethnic identity. 
• First was the demand for self-determination solely for groups belonging to their ethnic fabric, meaning the  dream to form a Kukiland. The second reason for insurgency lies in the inter-community conflicts between  the Kukis and the Nagas in Manipur. The Kuki-Naga conflict was started over securing identity and land as  some Kuki inhabited areas coincided with Naga inhabited areas. 
• Wanting to dominate trade and cultural activities in those areas the two communities often engaged in  violent standoffs, with villages being torched, civilians killed and so on. 

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