UNC decries Assembly's resolution
Source: Hueiyen News Service

Imphal, July 14 2010: The United Naga Council (UNC) has decried the Private Member Resolution seeking amendment to Article 3 moved by Opposition leader Radhabinod Koijam and subsequently passed in the Manipur Assembly.

In a long press release, the publicity wing of UNC said that on July 9, the Manipur Legislative Assembly unanimously resolved to urge the Centre to amend Article 3 of the Constitution of India so as to exclude the state of Manipur from the purview of the Article, as under the Act, alteration of state boundaries/ renaming / formation of new states by increasing or decreasing the area of two or more states can be carried out, and demanded amendment to Article 3 of the Indian Constitution.

The press release said, the leader of the Opposition, Radhabinod Koijam, while moving the private member resolution, had stated in the Manipur Assembly that the demand made by the NSCN (IM) to unite the Naga inhabited areas in the North East including Arunachal, Assam, Manipur and even Myanmar for a greater Nagalim is not tenable socially, geographically or culturally.

There is an intentional denial on the part of the Manipur Government that the fact of the demand of the Nagas to live together under one administrative roof is not that of the NSCN(IM) alone nor did they initiate the Naga integration or unification movement.

It was there even before the formation of the NSCN.

The UNC further said that when the British paramountcy was withdrawn in 1947, the hill leaders secured incorporation of a clause in page 12 of the Manipur Constitution that provide for the "�right of any section of the Hill People to secede at the end of the five year period ,should conditions within the constitution not be satisfactory." When the integrated Manipur Administration of the Hills and the valley started functioning on 15th August, 1947 with high handedness of the Meiteis, the "NO HOUSE TAX CAMPAIGN" was launched in 1948 by the Nagas in Manipur who refused to pay the annual House Tax to the Government of Manipur, of which Maharaj Kumar Priyobrata Singh was the Chief Minister and under the aegis of the Naga National League submitted their annual house tax to Charles Pawsey, D.C.of Naga Hills of Assam at Kohima in pursuit of their demand to be merged under one administrative roof with their Naga brethren in the Naga Hills district of the then undivided Assam.

In this campaign, Nagas in Manipur produced the first martyrs on 27th August, 1948 at Mao Gate, when three brave protestors were killed in the firings by the Armed Forces under the Manipur Government.

The press release stated that the organized expression of the desire of the Naga people to live together continued as a civil movement.

The United Naga Integration Council movement of the 1970s, in which the joint agreement signed on 4th Aug.1972, between All India Congress Committee and Manipur Pradesh Congress Committee on one side and the United Naga Integration Council on the other side is one of the few instances which is documented and on record.

In this agreement, the Congress Party stated that it does not oppose Naga integration movement nor considers the Naga integration movement as anti-party, anti-national, anti-state or an unconstitutional activity.

The demand of the Naga people for integration of the contiguous Naga areas into one administrative unit also finds clear mention in the 9 Point Hydari Agreeement of 1947 and in the 16 Point Agreement of 1960.Over the years memorandum and representations demanding Naga integration have been persistently submitted and pursued by the Naga people.

With regards to whether unification of Naga areas is socially, geographically and culturally tenable, we can briefly highlight the followingSocially, Nagas have an apex Naga Hoho that has jurisdiction over all Naga inhabited areas so also does the Naga Students' Federation.

The social essence of all Naga tribes lies in the village republics with their clearly demarcated territories.

Therefore it is socially tenable.

Geographically, Nagas inhabit contiguous areas.

And because of greater area and bigger population, an integrated Naga administration, would be far more viable economically.

Therefore it is geographically tenable.

Culturally, the unique diversity of the Nagas in Manipur has already been recognized by the Manipur State Government itself and "Lui-Ngai-Ni"-the Seed Sowing Festival of the Nagas in Manipur is an official state festival and a general holiday.

Therefore it is culturally tenable.

But as stated by Mr Radhabinod, out of the total area of Manipur is 22,237 sq.kms, the plain areas of Imphal valley constitute only 10 percent whereas the rest is hill areas and if Naga integration takes place then Manipur would be left with an area of 2000 sq.kms only.

Without the 90% area of the hills, in which name and whose owner's behalf, the wealth and development of the Imphal valley had been built up over the years, Manipur State would definitely not be tenable.

That this is the only concern of the State Government of Manipur has been clearly brought out by Mr.Radhabinod in the August house of the Manipur Assembly.

On the other hand the 1st July, 2010 historic declaration of the Naga people in Manipur to sever all political ties with the Government of Manipur has not been discussed in the August House of the Manipur Assembly.

Why was it not tabled for discussion ? Is it, as always maintained, considered the handiwork of a few organization misled and influenced by the NSCN and therefore to be ignored out rightly ? Is the Naga declaration beyond the purview of the Manipur Assembly when it talks about the political severance of ties with the Government of Manipur.

Why has the Manipur Assembly not discussed whether the position declared by the Nagas is tenable ? It is so, because the Manipur State Government is single mindedly concerned about the 10% geographical area of the Imphal valley and the population in it then for the state as a whole.

It is therefore communal, parochial and suppressive of the tribals, the UNC charged.

Article 3 of the Indian Constitution acknowledges that India is a multiethnic and multinational entity and that, the sense of identity and belongingness among members of communities must be respected, given due space and capitalized as already existing organized segments of the population which makes for more efficient administration and governance.

After the preamble of the Indian Constitution that undertakes to secure social, economic and political justice to all its citizens, Article 3 article occupies the third precedence after Article 1 on the Name and Territory of the Union and Article 2 on Admission or establishment of New States.

The house that has passed a resolution to exempt Manipur State from the purview of the Article 3 has therefore acted unconstitutionally and has gone against the very spirit of the Indian constitution.

This resolution also reinforces the expressed views of the tribals that the Manipur State Government has consistently attempted to legitimise the suppression of the tribals through legislation, acts and resolutions.

Will the Government of India endorse the resolution of the Manipur Assembly ? Will it make an exception to the constitution just because the brute majority of dominant community in the Manipur Assembly demands so ? What is the historical basis for a special dispensation, when its 2000 years of history cannot withstand the scrutiny of its own scholars.

With what impunity will the Government of India accept their demand when the dichotomy of administration for tribal in Manipur was the basis on which the joint administration of the hills and the Imphal valley began after the lapse of the British paramountcy in 1947.With what brazenness is the Government of Manipur demanding the permanent hegemony and suppression of the tribals ? The position of the United Naga Council to sever all political ties with the Manipur State Government and to demand for an alternative arrangement for the Nagas in Manipur has again been vindicated by the 9th July, 2010 resolution of the Manipur State Assembly, the UNC asserted.