In a significant move, the working committees of Naga National Political Groups (NNPGs) and Kuki National Organisation (KNO) kept aside their differences and signed a joint declaration to work together.
It may be mentioned that both the organizations separately negotiate political settlements with the central government.
After ethnic conflicts between the two communities – Kuki and Naga – in the early 90s, the armed militant groups for the first time have come out openly to work together.
A joint statement issued by NNPGs convener N Kitovi Zhimomi and KNO president PS Haokip said the declaration was signed between the two sides after a meeting in Imphal on January 10.
The joint statement was issued after thorough deliberation and discussion on the contentious political, social and inter-community matters prevailing for decades in Manipur.
After the discussions, they agreed to “work together closely in resolving difference through the democratic political process thereby the history and identity of one is respected and acknowledged by the other, now and in the future.”
As per media reports, the two groups also decided to appraise each other from time to time of issues that can have socio-political ramifications for one community or the other.
KNO spokesperson Dr. Seilen Haokip termed the development as “the foundation of peace” between the Kukis and the Nagas.
Haokip said: “When two different political groups are keen on co-existence, naturally they converge towards building peace. We don’t want to be enemies with anyone. I hope others will also follow suit.”
While NNPGs is an umbrella body of seven Naga militant outfits that have been holding talks with the Centre since 2017.
The NNPGs comprise NSCN(U), NSCN(R), NSCN (Khango), NNC (parent body), FGN, NPGN/NNC (NA) and NNC GDRN (NA).
KNO is one of two umbrella bodies of 17 Kuki militant outfits who are currently holding peace talks with the Centre.
The demand of the KNO is a separate Territorial Council in Manipur.