NTIMES 12Dec: A Response to the UNC’s “Alternative Arrangement outside the Government of Manipur, pending solution of the Indo-Naga Issue”
The United Naga Council (UNC) is the apex body of the Nagas of Manipur, therefore, it has every responsibility to lead and fight for the rights of the Nagas of Manipur in consultation with other apex bodies like the NWUM, ANSAM and its constituent unit members. VI Schedule, Empowerment of ADC Act, Alternative Arrangement or any other issues that are for the interest of their people, the UNC can take up and fight for, after considering what is best for the Nagas of Manipur for the time being i.e, before the settlement of the Indo-Myanmar-Naga Issue.
Therefore, at the moment, the UNC is vehemently fighting for an ‘Alternative Arrangement’ outside the government of Manipur, from the government of India, a demand which is very much within the Indian constitution, and also purely for the Nagas of Manipur. But very recently the UNC has come up with the slogan “Alternative Arrangement outside the government of Manipur, pending solution of the Indo-Naga Issue”, where the sacred Cause of “Nagaland for Christ” is messed up with their demand for ‘Alternative Arrangement’.
Before that too, in a statement of the UNC published in the Sangai Express & Morung Express on 15th July, 2010, they cited page 12 of the Manipur constitution to justify their demand to secede from Manipur state, 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”.
The 13th Clause of the 16th Point Agreement of 1960 and the United Naga Integration Council (UNIC) signed an MoU with the All India Congress Committee (AICC) and the Manipur Pradesh Congress Committee (MPCC) in the year 1972 were cited to justify their demand for Naga Integration.
My dear leaders, those articles, constitution, Mou or documents have nothing to do with the historical and political rights of the Nagas. Don’t you know that on account of such sell-out agreements or documents, Nagas were divided into Nagas and pro-India Nagas and killing amongst the Nagas was started where thousands of Nagas had lost their lives. You fight your demand basing on such so called rights and called your demand as pending solution of the Indo-Naga Issue.
That is too much my dear leaders of UNC. Will it not be appropriate to call your demand as pending solution of the 12 page of Manipur constitution because in it, the right to secede from Manipur state was mentioned and so fighting with that rights, ‘Alternative Arrangement’ is attainable (if what the UNC claimed to have in the page 12 of Manipur constitution was true).
The demand for Alternative Arrangement is not even a pending solution of the 13 Clause of the 16th Point Agreement of 1960 or the MoU signed between the UNIC and AICC, MPPC of 1972, for the two agreements mentioned the rights of the Nagas to be integrated all their areas into a single administrative unit that is far greater than the demand of the ‘Alternative Arrangement’ which is only for the Nagas of Manipur. Yes, UNC is right for citing the 13th Clause of 16th Point Agreement of 1960 and the MoU of the AICC, MPCC and UNIC of 1972 as the legitimate rights of their demand for Integration of all Naga areas into a single administrative unit within the Indian constitution, only it is wrong if they say, it is the pending solution of the Indo-Naga issue.
And if anybody likes any type of solution like the ‘Supra state Body’, it is possible through the 3rd Clause of Shillong Accord of 1975. The 3rd Clause stated as: “It was agreed that the representatives of the underground organizations should have reasonable time to formulate other issues for discussion for final settlement” So, final settlement is pending and anything what we desire within the Indian constitution can be negotiated through this 3rd clause. Therefore, a solution like the type of ‘Supra state Body’ is the fulfillment of the 3rd Clause of Shillong Accord of 1975.
What I meant here is not against the UNC’s demand nor for their demand (if they did not mess up the sacred cause of “Nagaland for Christ” with their demand) because it is none of my business to involve in a business that is within the India constitution. I just think, what the UNC struggles for, are all for the upliftment and betterment of the people, a necessity for the time being to lessen the burdens and sufferings of the people especially the commoners, before the fulfillment of God’s purpose for “Nagaland for Christ” is arrived.
But, it is not right if they say; the demand for a particular area development as the pending solution of the Indo-Naga Issue. There are the Zeliangrong’s demand for “Union Territory”, the ENPO’s “Frontier Nagaland”, the ATSUM’s demand for “Union Territory” and the Tangkhul Naga Long (TNL) demand for Ukhrul as the “Summer Capital of Manipur”. But none of them say, that theirs is the pending solution of the Indo-Naga Issue because it is not right for any region of Naga people, whether East or West, North or South to take advantage and bargain for their own selfish interest out of the Indo-Myanmar-Naga Issue.
Yes, it is a fact that the Nagas of Manipur suffered a step-motherly treatment from the Manipur government, the majority Meiteis. The Nagas of Manipur would have been fortunate if they were included in the state of Nagaland when it was formed because at that time if the NPC leaders were serious and wanted, it could had been done without much problem. But as unfortunate as they were, they now lagged far behind the Naga brethren of Nagaland state, and also they are today looked as ‘outsiders’ by their own fellow brethren of Nagaland state (not by all). (Except the Nagas of Manipur have one advantage over the others i.e. as they are in dominant of the present biggest Naga underground group, they have the might to accumulate wealth through unjust means, and somehow with those wealth they (the UG men) manage to keep their life standard almost on par with the Meiteis and the Nagas of Nagaland state).
Therefore, today, many Nagas of Manipur think that, neither can they trust anymore the Manipur government, the majority Meiteis nor can they expect much from the state of Nagaland. So, with such thoughts in mind, forgetting that such are only a temporary situation, they are desperate to go for any type of solution bargaining for their own taking the name of the Naga Issue with the Government of India, caring neither for the rights of the Nagas nor the price the Nagas had sacrificed for.
They are after only a solution for Naga issue what is possible. First the slogan was ‘Solution not Elections’. At that time, many Nagas thought that, a solution means ‘Naga Independence’. When the leaders realized that they could not negotiate a solution outside the Indian constitution, they demanded again ‘Integration of all Naga areas’ with the slogan ‘No Integration, No Solution’. Now, the leaders as well as many Nagas begun to realize that at the present situation (with only one faction), Naga Integration is not possible. So, there is no more ‘Integration Rally’ in any part of Nagaland except the noises of ‘Alternative Arrangement’ in Manipur by the Nagas of Manipur.
Therefore, now, ‘Alternative Arrangement’ is what many Nagas hope for a possible solution for the Nagas. But still I have doubt for you because there are many Naga villages under the dominance of other communities of Manipur though all of those villages and their land belong to us. For example: the Sadar Hills area, the Nagas under Churachandpur district, Bishnupur district, Jiribam sub-division and other places. What if other communities of Manipur stiffly oppose those Naga areas to be included into the map of your ‘Alternative Arrangement’, and if it becomes impossible, will you again opt for a smaller possible solution leaving those Naga areas to the rule of other communities.
You may mark my above words, if you are possible to achieve your ‘Alternative Arrangement’ outside the government of Manipur, and do not leave even a single Naga village living in our own Naga land to the rule of other communities. I am not challenging you my dear leaders but as I, myself am a Naga National Worker I have concern for my people where you will lead them to, because you won’t bother for the rights of the Nagas, you are only after a solution.
By comparing the Meiteis and other advanced Naga tribes, let us not curse ourselves. Let us be thankful to the Almighty God for what we are today. Simply jealous and trying to become equal with other advanced tribes alone is not right. Making loud noises in our own place and demanding our own share in the name of Indo-Naga issue is a shame. The important thing is, let us have concern for our Naga brethren who are more backward than us, work to uplift them before we try to become equal with the most advanced tribes. Let us travel far and near to the four corners of Nagaland and take our political stand.
Let us reach to the Nagas of Eastern Naga tribes in the present country of Myanmar, to the Nagas in the states of Arunachal Pradesh and Assam and share our political vision with them.
Let me share with you an example: That, nonetheless, the prevailing not so pleasant relationship between us and our neighbors is out of the result of the unnecessarily created misunderstanding and will be just temporary, but then, the recent statement of Mr. Ibobi Singh Chief Minister of Manipur that “there are neither Naga nor Kuki in Manipur state but only Manipuris”, and the statement of the Assam government spokesman and Minister Hemanta Biswa Sama that “there are only some Zeme Nagas in North Cachar Hills district who were only encroachers”, are somewhat a challenge to us.
The NSCN IM and UNC promptly reacted and in their separate press statements condemned the statement of Mr. Ibobi Singh and other languages of various political parties of Manipur when they spoke up with threatening words against the Nagas while reacting to the so called ‘Supra state Body”.
But then, both the NSCN IM and the UNC failed to condemn the statement of the Assam government and defend our brethren Zeme’s cause. It might be as they were too preoccupied with the alternative arrangement issue, and so it was not intentionally done, I believe it. Even then, this is what I have been worrying and saying where will you lead our people to.
May not be intentional but it was a sign of having less concern for the other Naga area especially the backward areas or a proof that the much talk about the ongoing peace-talks or the demand to solve the so called pending solution is not being aware by all Naga areas, if not at present the Naga issue is being taken up separately for some particular areas only.
We can do or go for anything what is best for the Nagas, whether phase-wise or whatever it is, if it is in consultation with all areas of Naga people and for the interest of the whole Naga Nation. But, what if you go to the Nagas of Assam, to the Nagas of Arunachal Pradesh and to the Nagas of Eastern Naga tribes in Myanmar and ask what they understand about the latest Naga issue (the so called pending solution) being taken up in our area, and if they answer in the negative.
Today, if we ask to the leaders of some major tribes like the Angami, Sumi, Konyak etc. about the detail of the points put forward by the NSCN IM in the ongoing peace-talks with the GoI, will they be able to tell you? I don’t believe. The Naga masses: some expect Naga integration, some expect alternative arrangement i.e. a separate state for the Nagas of Manipur, some even expect full Naga sovereignty and some work to harvest together the economic packages. Which one is right and what is Naga’s right? People are being misled and made confused in this way; even then this is what you think right and are adamant.
We had learnt from the history or have seeing enough of that are happening around the world, where a single party or a group of people were allowed to establish their rule in any place were all proved disastrous for the people. In such a type of establishment, suppression, oppression, killings, division and hatred will go on unending until those dictatorship rulers were overthrown and justice is done.
Let no party, group or tribe from among the Nagas become too ambitious and mischievous and try such despotic rule on the Nagas. The best for the Nagas is to take the example of the America war of Independence, where thirteen colonies of America met and took decision together, fought together and won their Independence. Let no some leaders whether underground or overground take decision and impose their decision on the Nagas, we have to first free ourselves from such dangers at all cost.
Let all Naga tribes take decision together what is best for the Nagas. Decide now, therefore, which is better for us. Shall we choose “unity first” for the love of the Nagas or shall we again be stubborn and stick to “Solution first” and ruin ourselves.
My suggestion: First we must work to bring all Nagas together in a way where all Nagas can fight together to achieve our common goal. So that the victory is of all the Nagas, for all the Nagas and by all the Nagas – that should be the formula and the foundation for the building of our Naga Nation.
Courtesy: Lt. Colonel Z. D. Akho, Naga Army