DIPHU, Jan 18 � The �United Kukigram Defense Army� a Kuki ethnic militant outfit based in Karbi Anglong district in central Assam declared a unilateral ceasefire with the Government of India and the Government of Assam, at an undisclosed position on January 12. The ceremony took place at a high altitude location of Singhason hills in the heart of the district.
The organisation came into being in 1996 under the nomenclature �United Defense Army� but was rechristened in 2010 as UKDA. The outfit was raised to defend the community from the attacks of the Manipur-based Kuki militant outfit KRA (Kuki Revolutionary Army), and also to demand a regional council comprising the Kuki-dominated areas of the district centering around the Singhason hill track.
Bruce Kuki, �foreign secretary� of the outfit while announcing the decision, giving a brief account of the UKDA, said �the Kuki�s settlement in the district of Karbi Anglong the then Mikir Hills can be traced since the second half of 19th century. The Kuki inhabited areas were visited by the then SDO of Golaghat subdivision in 1946 and the region was named Kuki Pahar�.
The �foreign secretary� stated that �the Kuki populated areas have lagged far behind other parts of Karbi Anglong district, especially economically, politically and educationally. We have been deprived of the benefits extended by the government over the years and the concerned government authorities have time and again turned a deaf ear to genuine legitimate demands and grievances even after several memoranda/representation given to the national and state level authorities since 1992�.
Replying to what forced them to take up arms against the nation, he said �we have been given a step-motherly treatment and our legitimate demands have remained unsolved. As a result, a wave of indignation, resentment and frustration has swept over the minds of the Kuki youths of Karbi Anglong. In order that the government authorities pay heed and hear our cries, we were compelled to take up arms, which led to the formation of United Peoples� Front (UPF) in 1996, which later was rechristened as United Kukigram Defence Army (UKDA) on April 19, 2010 at Sitpijang village�.
The outfit which declared truce with the Government on January 12 waged an armed struggle for fulfilling its demand for a �Kuki tribes Autonomous Regional Council and defending the Kuki inhabited area from intruders, evil designs of outsiders and anti Social elements and to uplift the living condition of its community�.
The UKDA spokesperson said that, the Manipuri based militant group KRA who are at present under �Suspension of Operation� status with the government in Manipur started intruding into Karbi Anglong district in the year 2003. This led to ethnic clashes between kukis of Karbi Anglong and those of Manipur leading to lose of hundreds of innocent lives and their properties in Karbi Anglong.