N.B Chyoi / October 11, 2021
Kathe Rebels from Manipur, India are now actually now paying back for their illegal stay in Burma or they have become victims of their own Karma. In May 2021, Burma Army Commander from Kalay town had summoned the Kathe Rebel leaders and sought their help in containing protests in Tamu and other parts of Sagaing Region.
As a result, approximately 80 to 100 cadres belonging to India’s northeast rebel groups such as People’s Liberation Army of Manipur (PLA-MP), United National Liberation Front (UNLF) & Kanglei Yawol Kanna Lup (KYKL) were forced to move out from their camps or better called “hideouts” in Homalin and Hesin areas. Those India’s rebel members are forced to march towards Tamu with a Burma Army convoy. Kathe rebels have been greasing the palms of Junta officers for years for safe stay but finally Burmese Junta has shown that they are at their disposal only.
Is this a revolution or slavery? One middle level functionary of one Kathe group admitted that it is the most disgraceful moment for any revolutionary to act against those who have been kind to them, it is betrayal rather. This has tarnished the image of “Kathe Community ” in Myanmar as whole irrespective of its origin and now they are called as “Dalans or Spies of Junta ”. Kathe also known as Meitei people are native from India’s Manipur State and Burma’s northwest region is home for a small community of Kathe people.
The rebel also admitted that Manipuri (Kathe) groups have lost ideology and commitment to the motherland (Kangleipak), leadership is weak and lower ranks are defiant. Now most of them feel like joining mainstream India after surrender rather than carrying a stigma of “Dalans” in Myanmar. The situation is worst in camps and survival is becoming difficult as PDFs formed in the area are after them and they are the prime targets now. He says the word “Dalan” is humiliating for us.
Locals have siphoned off their links and are not extending logistics to these rebels and sense of insecurity is all time high. Burmese girls who have married these Kathe are in trouble too and being treated as outcaste.
Most of the Burma’s People’s Defense Forces (PDFs) are contemplating action against these Kathe, but Kathe-Junta collusion is refraining them from offensives. To suppress the PDFs activities and to strengthen the security apparatus in Sagaing, Chin and Magwe Region, Burma’s Junta led State Administration Council (SAC) has appointed Lt. Gen. Than Hlaing, the most notorious and ruthless among Commanders to Head the Northwestern Military Command.
Burma Army’s divisive policy is working in some quarters of Ethnic regions. Recent clashes between the Restoration Council of Shan State (RCSS) and Shan State Progress Party/ Shan State Army (SSPP/SSA) in Shan state indicate such tactical moves. Similar intra tribal conflicts are seen between Chin-Zomi groups. Such moves of the Burma Army needs to be checked as it will ultimately kill the spirit of the movement. Kachins and Karens should also watch their moves, every organization has fault lines, but only smart moves can exploit it and change the course.
N.B Chyoi is a Kachin lawyer and geopolitical analyst focusing especially on Burma, India and China.
The opinion expressed here is the author’s own, and does not represent the editorial policy of The Kachin Post.