Manipur Police file FIRs against Colonel Vijay Chenji, two academicians

The Manipur Police have registered two separate cases against the authors of two books from the Kuki-Zo community for allegedly distorting the state’s history.

The first book titled The Anglo-Kuki War 1917-1919 was written by retired Colonel Vijay Chenji, while the second book The Anglo- Kuki War, 1917-1919: A Frontier Uprising Against Imperialism During the First World War was jointly edited by Jangkhomang Guite and Thongkholal Haokip.

A complaint against them was filed by the Federation of Haomee, a civil society organisation based in Imphal.

The police have booked Chenji, Guite and Haokip under the provisions of the Indian Penal Code pertaining to waging war against the Indian government, promoting enmity between different groups and using as true a declaration known to be false.

The first information report against Chenji was filed on August 9, while the case against Guite and Haokip was registered on August 7.

Guite is an assistant professor at Jawaharlal Nehru University’s Centre for Historical Studies, while Haokip is an assistant professor at the university’s Centre for the Study of Law and Governance.

The Federation of Haomee alleged that the books incorrectly depicted a Kuki rebellion from 1917 to 1919 as an Anglo-Kuki war. It claimed that no Anglo-Kuki war had taken place in Manipur’s history.

The complainants said that a Kuki rebellion had taken place as the community opposed the recruitment of Kukis in the region’s Labour Corps. The Indian Labour Corps consisted of workers recruited by the British government during World War I to carry out construction work in several parts of the world.

The organisation claimed that the Kuki rebellion involved the massacre of Nagas and Koms in the hill areas and Meiteis and Muslims in the Valley.

The Federation of Haomee claimed that there were records of rebel leaders themselves writing to local authorities saying that they had wrongfully fought against the government, and pledging allegiance to it.

“In the light of the above-established facts from perusal of the books and official records, it is clear that the author has concocted many lies intentionally to usurp historical facts and distort history for personal gain and in favour of a particular community which has resulted in grave offences against India and the United Kingdom,” the complaint read.

The complainants also demanded that the books be banned “for the ends of justice and peace in the country”.

Corrections and clarifications: An earlier version of the report incorrectly said that the case was filed in connection with one book. This report has been updated to add the name of the second book.

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