United Naga Council calls Imphal Valley leaders ‘Communal’

Drawing attention to, what it described “highly provocative and irresponsible public statements” purportedly made by leaders of Imphal-based civil societies and political parties, targeting the Nagas, the United Naga Council (UNC) Wednesday said it has become “necessary” to issue a public statement for general awareness and understanding of the situation.

In a press statement released today by its publicity wing, the UNC said the Nagas and tribal in Manipur have not objected to the Meiteis’ movement for self determination besides demand for inclusion of “Meiteilon” in the 8th Schedule and the extension of 11th Schedule (Panchayati Raj) and the 12th Schedule (Municipality Council) to the Manipur valley; development of Imphal valley as a modern city state with state of the art structures and buildings and communication networks.

However, the UNC alleged “communal government of Manipur” enacted the Manipur (Village Authority in Hill Areas) Act, 1956 against the customary practices and traditions of the tribals; passed the Manipur Hill Areas (Acquisition of Chiefs Rights) Act, 1967; passed the Forest Rights Act, 2006 without excluding the tribal areas in the state; imposed the Manipur (Hill Areas) District Council (3rd Amendment) Act, 2008; sabotaged the delimitation exercise. It said the Manipur government “by establishing legitimacy” have imposed acts, rules, orders and suppressive measures in all walks of life and blatantly carried out mass scale injustice, deprivation and oppression of the tribals.

The UNC also alleged that Manipur government launched “full scale communal attack” through public orders on other mainland Indians, who were settled in Imphal after October 19, 1949 and many innocent “Mayangs” (outsiders) have been killed, maimed and forced to flee Imphal valley.

Further, it stated that “communal Government of Manipur” have objected to the demand for Naga integration, the aspiration of all Nagas, based on their history; Indo-Naga ceasefire of 1997 and the extension of cease-fire beyond territorial limits in 2001; extension of 6th Schedule to the hill/tribals areas; visit of Th. Muivah to his native place; visit of the NSF to Oinam village, Tahamzam; demand of the Nagas in Manipur for an alternative arrangement outside the government of Manipur; launching of Manipur unit of the NPF, a political party registered with the Election Commission of India.

It said any move, “either imagined or actual to address the Naga issue”, was opposed by Manipur government “as is testified by the present furor against the supposed supra-state in Imphal valley.”

UNC also said “communal government of Manipur” wanted to extend the MLR & LR Act of 1960 to the hills areas of Manipur and thereby snatch away the land of the tribals; lift the Manipur Liquor prohibition Act 1991 from the five hill districts; impose Manipuri language on tribals; upgrade Sadar Hills to a full fledged district so as to bifurcate Naga areas;  and create Jiribam, Phungyar, Tegnoupal, Kakching, Tongjei Marin, etc  districts in order to slice off lands from tribal areas and make them Meitei majority districts.

Given the above situation, the UNC said it was “most unbelievable” that even the “exalted office” of Manipur governor had all these years failed in his constitutional duties as stipulated under 371(A), which it said enjoins the governor to submit an annual report to the President of India on the administration of the hill areas of Manipur.

In the backdrop of the above state of affairs and situation, the UNC claimed MPP president Dr. Nimaichand Luwang, during the sit in protest at its party office, Imphal November 19, 2011 against the supposedly proposed “Supra State Body” for the Nagas, talked of a “civil war” in the state if the Centre continued to insist on the “Supra State Body.”

Stating that Dr Luwang was “no ordinary citizen”, but was the president of one of the oldest regional political parties in the region, the UNC said it exposed the “communal colours” even at the leadership level of the people in Imphal valley.

“This is not an isolated and accidental utterance,” stated the UNC, adding the “threat of bloodshed and civil war” have been pronounced by Ranendrajit, Dilip Kumar, O.Joy, etc., who it said were are all prominent social and political leaders of Imphal valley.

With regard to this, the UNC sought the meaning and intent of citing “civil war” and “blood shed”.  “Whose blood are they crying for and with whom is the civil war being proposed to be waged?” queried the UNC.

It said Manipur government and “dominant communities” cannot teach the Nagas anything about war “for we have waged it honourably for more than 60 years”. It said Manipur government and “dominant communities” also have no “license” to talk about peace for “we have patiently gone through more than 14 years of cease-fire and peaceful negotiation” with the Centre.

Affirming that position of the Nagas was “clear and irreversible,” the UNC said: “we want an alternative arrangement outside the Government of Manipur, pending settlement of the Indo-Naga issue.”

For the Nagas, the council said it was a matter of rights, adding it cannot be subjected to the interest of the “dominant community or the communal State Government.”

It also cautioned that if any undesirable consequences arose out of the situation being created in Imphal valley, Dr. Luwang and leaders of the Imphal valley based organization would be held responsible.

UNC also said all those disturbing events have come about on account of the lack of commitment and political will of the Centre, in dealing with the aspiration of the Nagas, therefore, it said government of India will also be held responsible for any “communal conflagration” in the present state of Manipur.

Meanwhile, the UNC cautioned the Naga public to remain alert to face any eventuality “at this critical time and situation” and to actively participate in the ongoing democratic movement till their political aspirations achieved.

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