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The Kuki Inpi Manipur (KIM) has raised concerns about the erosion of academic freedom in India due to legal actions taken against Kuki scholars. KIM alleges that these charges are politically driven and aim to erase Kuki history.
In a memorandum sent to Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Saturday, the Kuki apex body expressed its frustration with the filing of FIRs against Kuki scholars and intellectuals, as well as statements made by Union Home Minister Amit Shah in Parliament.
According to the memorandum, Kuki leaders, social activists, student organizations, and scholars who have spoken out for the Kukis on various platforms have faced legal action to suppress voices from the Kuki-Zo community.
KIM emphasized the need to respond to academic matters with an approach that respects academic freedom, which is essential for a robust democratic society.
The Kuki apex body highlighted that many Kuki scholars, writers, leaders, and statesmen face constant threats and harassment. They lamented that the outcomes of research, academic engagement, and the exercise of freedom of speech are met with legal cases and FIRs.
The Manipur Police have taken legal action against two Kuki assistant professors from Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) and a retired Colonel for their involvement in editing and authoring a book on the Anglo-Kuki War of 1917-19.
KIM has called for the immediate withdrawal of cases and FIRs against Kuki community writers, scholars, academics, leaders, and statesmen, which they believe have been filed based on malicious complaints by radical and secessionist Meiteis.
The memorandum also critiqued Amit Shah’s statement, asserting that it sends a message that he supports the secessionist cause. The Kuki body warns against taking the Kuki community’s loyalty to the nation for granted.
KIM stated that the root of the ethnic conflict in Manipur is the majority Meiteis’ alleged attempts to seize Kuki land and resources. They criticized Amit Shah’s echoing of Chief Minister N Biren Singh’s statements in Parliament, suggesting that it is politically motivated and unjustified.
The Kuki body strongly condemned Amit Shah’s partiality towards Manipur’s Chief Minister and his narratives, alleging that his speech disregarded the core issues of the current Manipur problem. They implied that Amit Shah’s insincerity in resolving the issue was evident in his speech.