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Zomi-Kuki Insurgents Demand Manipur’s Own Administration


  • The United People Front and Kino National Organisation, two Kuki insurgent groups that signed a tripartite suspension of operations (SOO) with the Manipur government and the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) in 2008, will advocate for a separate administration and equal political status for the Kuki-Zo community, separate from Manipur but within the Union of India.


GS Paper 3: Role of state and non-state actors in creating challenges to internal security

Mains Question

Consider the effects on Manipur’s territorial integrity and the overall multi-ethnic makeup of the state of allowing the Kuki tribe a separate administration. How can we respond to such requests while balancing constitutional concerns with democratic ideals? (250 Words)

Why the recent disagreement and demand for a separate administration?

  • The recent struggle and demand for a separate government by the Kuki tribe in Manipur have historical, political, and sociocultural roots. The main justifications for this desire are as follows:
    • Historical grievances: The Kuki tribe has historically been marginalised and at odds with other Manipur communities. The majority of the state’s funding and development efforts are concentrated in the Hindu Meitei-dominated Imphal valley (Valley area), despite the fact that tribal areas make up 90% of the state’s geographical territory (Mainly Hilly area). Therefore, the Meitei – Kuki divide is simply a division of the hills and valleys. By granting Meitei ST status on May 3, fresh events have rekindled old issues.
    • Land and territorial issues: The Kukis and other communities of Manipur, particularly the Nagas, have long-standing land and territorial disputes. They contend that having their own administration would give them the power to reclaim their ancestral territories and settle these conflicts.
    • Identity and autonomy: The Kuki tribe, an indigenous group in Manipur, fights to maintain and preserve its unique identity. They think having a separate government would give them more power and control over their affairs.
    • Political representation: The Kukis assert that improved political representation and decision-making authority within the governance system would be ensured by a separate administration. They see it as a way to maintain their particular heritage and to protect their interests and community-specific requirements.

Government is facing challenges

  • The government has a number of difficulties in providing the Kuki tribe in Manipur state with a distinct governance. Here are some significant obstacles:
    • Racial tensions: The Kuki tribe receiving its own authority could lead to communal and ethnic unrest in Manipur. It might be seen as a threat to the interests of other communities in the state, which could spark dissent or violence.
    • Integration into the current governance structure: It would be difficult to ensure the seamless integration of a distinct Kuki administration inside Manipur’s larger governance structure. For instance On March 10, the Manipur Cabinet made the decision to terminate the tripartite SoO agreement with the two rebel organisations located in the hills, the Kuki National Army (KNA) and Zomi Revolutionary Army (ZRA).This withdrawal will make it difficult to oversee Manipur’s overall government structure.
    • Constitutional factors: To implement a separate government for the Kuki tribe, constitutional and legislative modifications would be necessary, which could involve difficult processes and political agreement.
  • Discussions of Article 3: Territorial Integrity and Democracy in the Constituent Assembly

Shah’s Support for Democracy and State Rights:

  • During the discussions about Article 3 in the Constituent Assembly, K.T. Shah, a supporter of democracy and state rights, expressed his concerns. He opposed giving the federal government the sweeping power to redraw state lines without the approval of the states involved. Shah argued that such a clause would be unfair to the units themselves as well as the basic principles of democracy.
  • The Cautionary Viewpoint of Santhanam: He advised against requiring governmental approval for boundary adjustments. He cautioned that such a condition would result in total majority rule, in which case minority requests for state separation or merger with neighbouring states might not be taken into consideration.


  • It is crucial to remember that the Kuki tribe’s demand for a separate government is a complicated and delicate matter that calls for careful consideration of numerous points of view, the historical setting, and the ambitions of all populations involved.
  • To address the underlying reasons of insurgency and advance peace and stability in the Northeast, the government should adopt a multifaceted strategy that combines security measures with socioeconomic development, communication, and regional collaboration.

Arrangements for management of the North East insurgency

The administration of scheduled areas and scheduled tribes is governed by Article 244 (1), and the states of Assam, Meghalaya, Tripura, and Mizoram are included in Article 244 (2), which governs the administration of scheduled areas. Manipur has special status under Article 371 (C).

ILP: Inner Line Permit

  • In order to preserve the original identity of the native people of Manipur, Mizoram, Nagaland, and Arunachal Pradesh, restrictions are placed on the entry of outsiders.
  • In order to hasten the socioeconomic development of the North Eastern Region, the Ministry of Development of the North Eastern Region (DoNER) is working on issues connected to the planning, execution, and monitoring of development schemes and projects in the region.

March 2024