A writ petition has been filed in the Supreme Court by one Prakash Singh, where it has been petitioned to direct the respondent, the Government of India(GOI) to take appropriate steps to remove the economic blockade by Naga tribes resulting in acute shortage of essential commodities and the sharp escalation in their prices. The Petitioner had further prayed among others, to direct the Respondent to impose such penalties, including collective fines against the people/ groups resorting to economic blockade and trying to disrupt the lines of communication along the National Highways. The petitioner has also suggested use of force, tear gas etc. against the peoples’ legitimate agitation to protect their rights, which in other words is inciting communal violence & conflict considering that the State armed forces are under the communal State Government.
The demand for the creation of Sardar Hills district has seen the inking of four memorandum of understanding/agreements in 1981, 1992, 1996 and 1998 between the Nagas and the Government of Manipur. The 1998 Memorandum of Understanding agreed to honour the memorandum/agreements entered into in 1981, 1992 and 1996 and also recognised the issue of land as the bone of contention between the Kukis and the Nagas and the main cause of the Kuki- Naga clash in the 1990s. The Memorandum of Understanding/agreements had clearly enunciated that the GoM would take ethnic affinities into consideration in the readjustment and demarcation of boundaries. So while representation after representations and agreement after agreements have taken place, the GoM has wilfully ignored this critical point of understanding and instead have encouraged the demand for creation of Sardar Hills District through bifurcation of Senapati District and inclusion of Naga villages and land in the same.
On 1St August, 2011, the SHDDC imposed economic blockade on the two national highways demanding creation of a district by Kuki tribes. The Ibobi Singh Government responded to the total blockade of SHDDC with alacrity without consulting the Nagas in Manipur as earlier agreed upon. The UNC was thus compelled to launch a counter blockade against the decision of the Government of Manipur to announce the formation of Sadar Hills District out of the present Senapati District where many Naga villages will be adversely affected.
The economic Blockade was lifted wef 6 AM of 29th November, 2011 on the request of the Hon’ble Home Minister, GOI to accept the assurance of Mr. Ibobi, CM, GOM that all stakeholders, including the Nagas would be consulted before taking a decision on the Sadar Hills district.
Being the tribe based apex bodies of all Nagas in the state of Manipur, the UNC was compelled to take up the extreme step of enforcing the economic blockade to protect the constitutional rights of our people. But efforts are being made to criminalise the genuine protest of the Nagas against the attempt to bifurcate their land.
The UNC has since submitted an application to the Supreme Court for impleading it as party respondent to the above writ petition as UNC has been wrongly alleged in the above Petition as a frontal organization of the National Socialist Council of Nagaland (NSCN- Issac-Muivah Group) and also because the Petitioner has deliberately suppressed material historical facts and backgrounds which will help understand the genesis and the root cause of economic blockade in the State so that the proper facts and circumstances are brought before the Hon’ble Supreme Court.
The UNC has submitted in the impleadment that it be heard by the Hon’ble Supreme Court to get the full and correct picture of the situation in the State and to enable the Hon’ble Court to formulate appropriate directions in order to avoid the grave potential for communal confrontations and violence which could flare up at the slightest provocations, intentional or perceived as such by any community in the future and that hearing and adjudication of the Petition without the UNC’s inputs will result in miscarriage of substantial justice.
United Naga Council