Emergence Of The KNF
A brief history of the emergence of the Kuki-Chin National Front (KNF) in Chittagong Hill Tracts, Bangladesh.
The Kuki-Chin National Front (KNF), the political organization of the small ethnic groups of the Chittagong Hill Tracts (CHT), demands a separate State in the CHT of Bangladesh with full-fledged autonomy to the present government.
The Kuki-Chin National Development Organization (KNDO) now known as Kuki-Chin National Front (KNF) was established in 2008 with some educated circles of the backward and disadvantaged Kuki-Chin communities (of Bawm, Pangkhua, Lushai, Khumi, Mru & Khiang). In the first phase, KNDO (Kuki-Chin National Development Organization) was established to promote economic development, preservation of cultural features, protect land grabbing and to establish harmony and peace in the backward region and backward small communities in the Chittagong Hill Tracts of Bangladesh.
For more than a decade, KNF leaders have accused of discriminatory and step-motherly behavior by both larger communities and the government in their inhabited regional lands. The leaders of the organization have also expressed their anger over the government. In 2015 the KNDO submitted their memorandum to the Prime Minister of Bangladesh demanding separate budget from the budgets of three district councils of the CHT, the CHT Development Board and the CHT ministry.
Their demands are getting tougher and tougher as the government has not taken any action. The organization has recently claimed that the entire region from Sajek Valley in the northeastern part of Chittagong Hill Tracts to the southeast and the entire region in the eastern part of Chittagong Hill Tracts is their ancestral territory (namely Baghaichari, Juraichari, Borkol, Bilaichari, Rwangchari, Ruma, Thanchi, Lama and Alikdam).
The KNF demands an autonomous region with a self-governing administration, or a “territorial council” called the “Kuki-Chin Territorial State,” with full-fledged autonomy. Although this organization, in initial period, is officially registered, it became an armed branch in 2016 due to special needs. In the early days, the armed wing was named the Kuki-Chin National Volunteers, or KNV. This KNV secretly conducted its organizational activities peacefully for several years. Later, they developed relations with the rebel groups in Manipur state and Chin Hills of Burma.
“The KNF urged the government to solve their problem by accepting their demands as soon as possible. Otherwise, the organization will call for a strictly armed movement. They currently have three commando force units. At present the number of members (armed and unarmed active members) of this organization in Mizoram and Chittagong Hill Tracts is about 3 to 4 thousand.”
Later in the same year, the Central Committee sent several hundred members of the organization to Manipur for military training. Later, hundreds of active members were sent to Kachin, Karen Province and Manipur for guerilla training. In 2019, after completion of the infantry commando training, hundreds of armed men returned to the CHT, their well trained armed groups remain inactive. The leaders of this KNF organization are all Christians and the other political organizations in the Chittagong Hill Tracts called JSS and the other regional political organisations are led by the Buddhist Chakmas. The group has also called on the international community to intervene their problems internationally. The aim of this organization is to establish a separate and autonomous region.
The KNF urged the government to solve their problem by accepting their demands as soon as possible. Otherwise, the organization will call for a strictly armed movement. They currently have three commando force units. At present the number of members (armed and unarmed active members) of this organization in Mizoram and Chittagong Hill Tracts is about 3 to 4 thousand.
Recently, the KNF has warned the present government that if their demands are not accepted, the armed movement will be forced to take a difficult shape. Therefore, the KNF guerilla leaders urge the government to take immediate steps to avoid bloodshed and let their region be peace.
* Map: KNF demand map for Kuki-Chin State.
*Lt. Col. Solomon, Secretary, Information and publicity Kuki-Chin National Front (KNF), KNF Headquarters, Chittagong Hill Tracts, Bangladesh
Headline Image: Courtesy – Impact Tv
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