NEW DELHI, Nov 21: Meeting several Ministry officials, delegates of the United Naga Council (UNC) are camping in Delhi to call on the Union Home Minister to pursue their agenda of an alternative arrangement for the Nagas of Manipur.
Speaking to The Sangai Express, UNC president L Adani stated that the pressure for an “alternative arrangement” is not a movement to demand for a separate State or a Union territory, it is a demand for an arrangement within the Indian Constitution”.
Maintaining that it is a broader concept for a solution to the Naga problem, UNC general secretary Gaidon Kamei added “it is a pending solution vis-a-vis the ongoing Indo- Naga peace talks.”
Recollecting the series of events and meetings with the Central Government in the aftermath of Muivah’s aborted visit to Manipur in May last year, the UNC officials informed that the concept of an “alternative arrangement” was evolved in September 2010.
Dismissing comment and opinion upon the matter of formation of a Supra State body, the UNC representatives said that the matter is “at a high level Indo–Naga talk process”, whatsoever it is “ we cannot continue to live in this fashion at home ( that is Manipur)” said the UNC officials.
On the question of opposition by Naga frontal organizations for the creation of Sadar Hills district the UNC officials affirmed “We are not against the upgradation of Sadar Hills to a District, we are against the bifurcation of Naga areas”.
They reminded that way back in 1998 the UNC , ANSAM and other Naga bodies had signed an agreement with the Government of Manipur that the “resolution of the conflict on the issue of Sadar Hills will be brought about through a consensus of the peoples concerned in the interest of bringing about lasting peace and harmony between the Nagas and the Kukis.”
The UNC also expressed shock and raised doubt over the MoU signed between the Sadar Hills Districthood Demand Ccommittee and the State Government which was signed by the State Chief Secretary as representative of the State, who is also the chairman of the District Reorganization Committee.
The UNC team further elaborated that the Naga integration movement had been accepted by the ruling Congress Government as “not anti-National”.
Strongly condemning the State Government’s apathy, the UNC officials recounted that in 1997 there was a hue and cry over the Indo- Naga ceasefire from valley based civil society and general public, followed by the 2001 announcement of “without territorial limits” then the “Muivah visit” in 2010.
The problem according to the UNC is that the dominant Meiteis in Manipur do not accept the Naga identity, therefore “ we cannot live under the Manipur Government” said the UNC.
The UNC also strongly contended that any move for the betterment of the Nagas or the hill areas inhabited by tribals in Manipur at large have always been opposed by the valley Meitei. “We never opposed 8th or 11th schedule, so why does the Meiteis always ‘interrupt’ whatever move we make” countered the UNC leader. Citing such cases as census operations, delimitation or 6th schedule, the UNC leaders stated “all this (interruptions) are legitimately done by the majority in the State government, that comprise of representatives from the valley and hills in a ratio of 60:40”.
The UNC official delegates also informed that a series of public rally will be taken out in Chandel on November 22, in Ukhrul on November 25 and in Tamenglong on November 28. The council further said that the economic blockade will be called off once the Government of India send its feedback over the alternative arrangement demand.