In a First, Manipuri Insurgents Write To Amit Shah, Seek Ticket for Favoured BJP Leader

Guwahati: Two Manipuri insurgent groups, for the first time ever, have requested the ruling party BJP to give tickets for their favoured 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) have sought BJP’s ticket for HS Benjamin Mate who is a vice president of BJP’s Manipur unit. This is, perhaps, for the first time that they have come out openly in support of a candidate.

The ZRO stated that it would be grateful if Shah could award party ticket to Mate claiming that the candidate is “most promising among politicians seeking ticket.”

Both ZRO and KNO are Chin-Kuki (tribe) insurgent groups. The groups are in a peace mode following their signing of “suspension of operation” agreement with the Government of India (GOI).

The Zomi Re-Unification Organization is an armed group of Zomi people formed in 1997, following an increase in ethnic tensions between the Kuki people and the Paites tribe in Churachandpur district of Manipur. Its parent organisation, the Zomi Revolutionary Organisation, was founded on April 1993. Since August 9, 2005, ZRO is on ceasefire agreement with the Government of India.

On the other hand, KNO is active in most part of Kuki areas in India and Myanmar. The organisation takes the responsibility of co-ordinating different Kuki insurgency groups. They have also exercised concern over socio-religious issues, such as church unity, campaign against social evils such as narcotics, theft, exploitation and smuggling of local natural resources. Consequently, KNO have earned respect and support from the Kuki community.

KNO has avoided confrontation with the security forces and have made appeals to the Government of India and other high-level officials in New Delhi for fulfilling their objectives.

The Lok Sabha polls in the eight North Eastern states will be held in three phases on 11th, 18th and 23rd April. While polling in Arunachal Pradesh, Meghalaya, Mizoram, Nagaland and Sikkim will be held in a single phase, polling in Manipur and Tripura will be held in two phases and polling in Assam will be held in three phases.