TODAY -

UNC espouses peaceful parting of ways
Source: The Sangai Express

Imphal, October 26 2012: Responding to the statements of the United Committee Manipur (UCM) and the All Manipur United Clubs Organisation (AMUCO) in particular, and media reports in general in respect of the current discourse on the settlement of the Indo-Naga issue, the United Naga Council (UNC) has asserted that peaceful parting of the Nagas in Manipur and the Meiteis as good neighbours is the only way to avert catastrophic situations that would arise out of the prolonged 'forced union of the two' .

A press statement issued by the UNC alleged that the "inclusive" nomenclature of UCM and AMUCO, both Meitei organizations, do not include tribal communities which constitute more than 40 per cent of the population of Manipur.

While the mandate and representation of the Meitei community by UCM and AMUCO is for the Meiteis to decide, the Nagas in Manipur had in the Naga People's Convention held on July 1, 2010 resolved to sever all political ties with the Government of Manipur and to demand an alternative arrangement outside the Government of Manipur (GOM) .

The interest of the people of the State of Manipur which UCM is professedly advocating is definitely not inclusive of the interest of the tribal communities.

The UCM is free to demand "pre-merger status" for its constituents, in its jurisdictions but certainly not for the tribals who own 90 per cent of the geographical area of the present State of Manipur.



A file picture of a rally demanding Alternative Arrangement
A file picture of a rally demanding Alternative Arrangement


The Nagas have no objection to the aspirations of the UCM and AMUCO and the future that they envision for their constituents but the political position of the Naga people is based upon the unmistakable facts that "it is impossible to protect our right to life, land, time-honoured institutions, customary practices and values under the administration of the dominant and communal GoM and that our history with it has clearly confirmed the harsh reality that the GoM has never recognised and respected the identity and dignity of the Naga people" .

Reacting to the UCM's statement that the Government of India (GoI) should not do anything that would disturb communal harmony, the UNC asked, "But where is the communal harmony that the UCM is speaking about?" .

" At least not here in the state of Manipur; none other than the Prime Minister of India has expressed his deep concern about the Naga-Meitei divide in Manipur on communal lines (PM's address in the 45th Conference of DGPs, 26 August, 2010)", UNC pointed out.

The very position taken by the UCM and others, in which they stridently advocate the continued suppression of the rights of Nagas, is antithetical to the very idea of communal harmony.

Threat to uproot all national level political parties from the state and to launch an agitation stronger than that of 18 June 2001 if the wishes of the Manipuri public is not acknowledged has been made public by the UCM.

Instead of prosecuting the criminal acts of burning the Indian national flag and Indian constitution, the arson of the State Legislative Assembly and the Raj Bhavan in Imphal during the "June Uprising" of 2001, all of which are the highest symbols and seat of Indian democracy, has been glorified and commended by the GOM.

It is therefore no surprise that organisations such as the UCM and AMUCO are threatening to commit the same crimes in greater measure if the democratic rights of the Nagas are upheld and respected.

The GoI cannot be cowed down and accept the threat of mindless violence as the factor for its decision.

Anti-national organisations advocating an unconstitutional demand can only be tolerated to the peril of the Union Government.

GoI will have to prove in letter and spirit that it is democratic and fair and seeks to deliver justice where it is well overdue.

The tribals in Manipur in general have a unique position in the largest democracy called India.

They subsist under the GoM, a limb of the Union, which is communal in its character and predatory in its approach to minority communities.

Constitutional protections and democratic rights of tribals have been deprived to the tribals in the state by the GoM and by extension the Imphal valley based Meitei organisations through the persistent "local adjustment" approach to filter out and dilute any actual and real protection and benefit for the tribals.

In the name of territorial integrity, the communal GoM, whose decisions and policies are informed by the diktats of organisations such as the UCM and AMUCO endeavours to perpetuate their imperialistic control over the administration of resources, opportunities and government functions to keep the tribals under their hegemony.

The sharing of power, opportunities and benefits of development with the tribals is farthest from the minds and hearts of the dominant community, which is bent on keeping the tribals in perpetual subjugation under their chauvinistic interest.

The co-existence of Meitei-Naga communities has indeed fatigued all stakeholders, Meiteis, UCM and AMUCO included.

Therefore, the peaceful parting of the Nagas in Manipur and the Meiteis as good neighbours is the only way to avert catastrophic situations that would arise out of the prolongation of the forced union, it asserted.

"The UNC cautions the Naga public to remain alert to face any eventuality at this critical time and situation when our rights, our aspirations and our future are being subjected to the interest and convenience of communal forces.

All tribe councils and frontal organisations are informed to be in continued readiness with their constituents to respond to emerging developments as per the declared position of the Naga people", it added.


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