UNC demands separate budget for Nagas in Manipur

MEMORANDUM SUBMITTED TO DR Y. V. REDDY, CHAIRMAN OF THE 14TH FINANCE COMMISSION, GOVERNMENT OF INDIA

DATED IMPHAL, 7TH OCTOBER, 2013

 

Subject:      DEMAND FOR SEPARATE BUDGET FOR NAGAS IN MANIPUR outside the government of manipur.

Respected  Sir,

Imphal 7Oct: While warmly welcoming you and your esteemed colleagues from the 14th Finance Commission of the Government of India on your visit to the State, the United Naga Council (UNC) wish to avail of this opportunity to make the following submission for your serious consideration.

You may kindly be aware that the Nagas in Manipur under the aegis of the UNC had declared severance of ties with the Government of Manipur(GoM) in the Naga People’s Convention held on 1st July, 2010. The UNC is now engaged in a tripartite dialogue process with the GoM and the Government of India(GoI) at the initiative of the latter on our  demand for an alternative arrangement outside the GoM pending settlement of the Indo-Naga issue as per the memorandum submitted to the Prime Minister of India through the Hon’ble Union Home Minister on the 14th of September, 2010 at Delhi(copy enclosed). There has already been 6 rounds of talks, the last of which took place at Delhi on the 30th August, 2013.

The issue on which we have based our demand is not about development deficit or bringing improvement in the existing system. Our considered view is that development will not and cannot happen in the tribal areas unless an alternative arrangement outside the existing political system of the GoM is put in place. The demand is for political empowerment where the life and governance of the Nagas and tribals are not subjected to the interest of the communal Government of Manipur which is informed and determined by the brute majority of 40 representatives from the Imphal valley in a total legislative assembly house of 60. The demand is also premised on the sharp social divide on communal lines in the present state of Manipur, which the Hon’ble Prime Minister of India had noted with concern in the 40th conference of DGPs on 26th August, 2010. This social divide is not a recent development but was inherent in the construction of the present state of Manipur and even prior to the merger of Manipur to the Indian Union. It was vitiated by decades of suppression, subjugation and hegemonic domination of the Nagas and tribals by the communal Government of Manipur. The impossible conditions in which Nagas and tribals exist under the Communal Government of Manipur, unable to live with dignity and honour and have their land, traditional institutions, culture and way of life protected is the core issue.  Through use of state forces and sanctions obtained with brute majority the rights and interest of the Nagas and the tribals in Manipur are being surely and irredeemably taken away.

Sir, your good self and esteemed colleagues cannot fail to appreciate during your visit to the state that even after completion of the 13th Finance Commission, the Naga areas stands out with its backwardness and underdevelopment, devoid of infrastructure and the essentials of good life.

The GoM of Manipur has submitted lists of projects as development initiatives taken up in the Naga and tribal areas of the state in the course of the dialogue process. We have made visits to 19 such projects identified at random and our observation on them amply exemplifies how in the name of development of the tribal areas sanctions are obtained for projects and funds released but without any effective facility or benefits generated for the tribals. The projects are being capitalised upon as opportunities to misappropriate funds by agents and front agencies of the GoM. Copies of our cover note and observations on the 19 projects along with photographs which were submitted in the 6th Tripartite talk is also enclosed for reference.

At this juncture, it is our contention that the GoI must make separate budgetary provisions for Nagas in Manipur respect of all development and welfare programmes so that the diversion, misutilisation, underutilisation and non-utilisation of the funds provided by the GoI for the Nagas and tribal areas is put to a stop to ensure social and political, social and economic justice for our people. Should the GoI plead helplessness citing the technicality of centre-state relationship, then it condemns the Nagas to continued deprivation and suppression and GoI becomes the knowing and willing abettor of the injustices to which we have been subjected to.

We, therefore solicit your kind initiative for provision of clearly separate budget for the Nagas and Naga areas of Manipur to guarantee that our people and homeland are not condemned to perpetual underdevelopment and backwardness.

Yours faithfully,

Sd/-                                                                                                          Sd/-

(L. ADANI)                                                                                                        (GAIDON KAMEI)

President                                                                                                     General Secretary

———————————————————————————————————————————————————————

Enclosed :

  1.  True Copy of Memorandum submitted to honourable Prime Minister, Dr. Manmohan Singh,

Government of India by the United Naga Council dated New Delhi, September 14, 2010.

  1. Cover note along with observations & photographs of the United Naga Council on 19 development projects in Naga areas submitted by Government of Manipur as development initiatives taken up in the Naga areas.

TRUE COPY

 

MEMORANDUM SUBMITTED TO HONOURABLE PRIME MINISTER, DR MANMOHAN SINGH, GOVERNMENT OF INDIA, BY THE UNITED NAGA COUNCIL

DATED NEW DELHI, SEPTEMBER 14, 2010

 

Subject: SEVERING THE TIES THAT BIND – DEMAND FOR ALTERNATIVE ARRANGEMENT.

Hon’ble Sir,

We the undersigned, for and on behalf of the Nagas in the present state of Manipur, once again come before your esteemed office to draw your urgent attention to the subject cited above for your immediate intervention.

That, on 1st July, 2010, the Nagas in the present State of Manipur resolved through its highest decision making forum, the Naga Peoples’ Convention (NPC), that Nagas will sever all political ties with the communal Government of Manipur (GoM), and therefore, the vacuum in governance and administration created thereby must be filled with an alternative arrangement by the Government of India (GoI) in consultation with the Naga people at the earliest possible time. It was also declared that the imposed Autonomous District Councils election is “null & void” and under no circumstances shall the district councils be allowed to function in the Naga areas.

This drastic decision was necessitated by the unmistakable fact that it had become impossible for the Nagas to protect their right to life, land, time-honored institutions, customary practices and values under the administration of the dominant and communal GoM, as their history has clearly confirmed the harsh reality that the GoM has never recognized and respected their identity and dignity.

A copy of the above mentioned resolution of the Nagas was electronically communicated to your good office on 3rd July, 2010.

Sir, it is necessary to draw your attention to the historical fact that the Nagas in the present state of Manipur were independent of the Manipur Maharaja. A dual system of administration for the Hills and the Valley came into existence after the British annexed the Meitei kingdom of Manipur in 1891. This system continued even after 1949 when the Meitei kingdom was merged with the Indian Union along with the hill areas, without the knowledge and consent of the Nagas and other tribal people. This indicated that the indisputable separateness between the Nagas and the people from Manipur Valley was recognized even then.

The Nine Point Agreement of June 1947 signed between Sir Akbar Hydari, Governor of Assam, and the Naga National Council (NNC) clearly envisaged and recognized the right of the Nagas to live together under a single united administration. Further, the thirteenth clause of the Sixteen Point Agreement, 1960, between the GoI and the Naga Peoples’ Convention testified to India’s standing commitment to the consolidation of contiguous Naga areas.

The Nagas in Manipur have always opposed their inclusion within Manipur. As far back as 1948, the Nagas in Manipur under the Naga National League (NNL) had made their stand clear that they will not be part of Manipur since the latter had never conquered the Nagas; that it would be impossible for the Nagas to preserve their culture, tradition, customary laws and political practices should the Nagas and their land be split up and placed under different administrative units. The NNL expressed their strong desire to merge with the Naga Hills District

of Assam through the boycott of the preparation of electoral rolls in Naga areas in Manipur. The Nagas further launched the “No House Tax Campaign” refusing to pay the annual House Tax to the Government of Manipur and instead submitted their annual house tax to Charles Pawsey, D.C. of Naga Hills of Assam at Kohima. The campaign was forcibly suppressed resulting in the death of three Nagas and the wounding of many. It may be recalled that, for the second time, the Hill House Tax-2006 of Naga households living in the present state of Manipur was not submitted to the GoM but to the Hon’ble Prime Minister’s office on 7th July 2006 to show the Naga’s strong desire to live together as one people.

It is unimaginable that in the land of Mahatma Gandhi, Nagas have suffered so much violence —rape, torture, killings, and destruction of property through militarization and imposition of draconian laws like the Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act, 1958—and that Nagas have become victims of the same colonizing policies which Gandhiji fought and won through nonviolence.

The disrespect for the rights and aspiration of the Nagas and their continued suppression forced the Nagas to defend themselves. We now come before you to help us avoid a violent conflagration that the Nagas in Manipur are faced with at this juncture.

Apart from the brutal suppression of the rightful demands of the Nagas, legal enactments supposedly passed for the welfare of the tribals in the hill areas, rather than enhancing tribal autonomy and strengthening their traditional independent institutions or self governance, were surreptitiously introduced to create space for interference by the state. It has led to land alienation, extermination of culture of the tribals and systematic bureaucratization, exploitation and discrimination against them by the state and the dominant community of Manipur. For the tribals, all the legal enactments in the guise of protecting their rights exist only in name and they have become instruments for serving the interest of the Meiteis. Laws such as the Manipur Village Authorities (Hill Areas) Act, 1956; the Manipur Land Revenue and Land Reforms Act, 1960; the Manipur Hill Areas (Acquisition of Chiefs’ Rights) Act, 1966; the Manipur (Hill Areas) District Councils Act, 1971; the Manipur Liquor Prohibition (Amendment) Act

2002, etc have led to the erosion of our rights. Further, constitutional provisions such as Art 371-C which provides for some form of protection of the interests and rights of the tribals in Manipur have been completely and intentionally ignored.

Hon’ble Sir, the tribal areas in Manipur is 20,089 sq km constituting 90% of the state’s total of 22,327 sq. km and has a population of 9,83,074 making up for 41% of the state’s total of 23,88,634. The tribals have only 20 representatives in the house of 60. Each tribal MLAs represents a population of 49,154 and about 1004.5 sq km on an average. On the other hand, Manipur valley has an area of just 2,238 sq km i.e. 10% of the state’s total area and has a population of 14,05,560, i.e. 59% of the State’s total. The Manipur valley has 40 MLAs who represents just 35,139 population and 55.9 sq km on an average. Despite clear constitutional requirement for delimitation adjustment of Assembly Constituencies following the above mentioned changes in demography, whereby the tribal representation in the Manipur Legislative Assembly would have increased, the same has been willfully ignored and rejected by the communal GoM.

This warped system is the handy instrument used for suppression and discrimination against the tribal population in Manipur. A sample physical verification of development programmes supposedly implemented in the tribal areas during the last seven-eight years will bear out the fact that there has been open looting of public funds in the name of development in the tribal areas.

Nagas do not desire conflicts arising out of ethnic and communal divide. However, when the dominant community is using the same as a basis for discrimination and suppression it becomes inevitable that the divide, which is created by such discrimination and suppression, is accentuated to an irreparable point. “Hao” the derogatory term meaning “untouchable”, “uncivilized”, or “inferior” is still commonly used by the Meiteis against tribals; such attitudes and prejudices play decisive roles in shaping and informing the policies of the GoM and the interaction of the Meiteis with the tribals in Manipur.

We draw your attention to the grave potential for communal confrontations and violence which could flare up at the slightest provocations, intentional or perceived as such by any community. As you would surely appreciate, the situation is fragile, sensitive, and delicate, and therefore requires your immediate intervention to avoid any catastrophic consequences.

We believe that peaceful parting of ways of the Nagas in Manipur and the Meiteis as good neighbours is the only way to avert catastrophic situations that would arise out of prolongation of the forced union.

It is our firm belief that good neighbourliness between the Nagas and the dominant community of the Manipur Valley can only be ensured when the Nagas and their land are not governed and administered by the dominant and communal Government of Manipur.

We, therefore earnestly solicit your personal initiative to intervene with an alternative arrangement for the Nagas in Manipur at the earliest.

We express our gratitude for the audience and receipt of this submission.

May God bless you with good health and long life.

Yours faithfully,

Sd/                                                                                                 Sd/-

(SAMSON REMEI)                                                                         (SWORD VASHUM)

President,                                                                                             Chairman,

United Naga Council                                                      Committee for Alternative Arrangement

 

—————————————————————————————————————————————

 

United Naga Council’s(UNC) response in the 6th Tripartite Talk held on 30th August, 2013 at Delhi to Government of Manipur(GoM) on their submission in the tripartite talk  on development initiatives taken up by them in the tribal areas  of Manipur

During the political tour taken up by the UNC in Naga areas in Manipur during April–May, 2013 to update the Naga people on the  movement for an alternative arrangement outside the GoM pending settlement of the Indo-Naga issue, a random visit to some project sites listed and submitted by the GoM as evidence of their initiatives for development of the tribal areas was undertaken. While our issue is not about development deficit, we have felt it necessary to respond in black and white to the GoM’s submission on it’s development initiative in the Naga areas.

It may be appreciated we do not have access to detailed information on the listed projects being a civil society organisation, nor the expertise to offer precise observations on the status of the few projects that were visited. Therefore we are furnishing a response based on the prima facie observations made by our team in their visit to 20 numbers of the listed projects spread out in the Naga areas with and without photographs( as applicable).

  1. 1.      There is definitely willingness to sanction projects in the tribal areas as was evident from the number of listed projects submitted in the 3rd, 4th and 5th tripartite talk.

 

  1. 2.      Without exception, as per our limited knowledge none of the completed projects which were visited and were in place or underway, matched the reported status of funds sanctioned or released in terms of work.

 

  1. 3.      In some cases there was absolutely no work done worth the name while huge amounts have been released and disbursed.

 

  1. 4.      Quite a few projects were left abandoned and incomplete leaving ugly structures strewn around in the tribal areas.

 

  1. 5.      Some of the projects reported as completed did not have any maintenance/repair/upkeep arrangement and were laying waste. They have presumably been sanctioned and constructed just for the sake of doing so and not to effectively benefit the stakeholders.

 

  1. 6.      It was seen that there was no participation of the stakeholders/actual beneficiaries of the project which created space for various problems that were capitalised upon by GoM and its agencies for non-completion, abandonment or delay in completion.

 

  1. 7.      It was surprising that no known actions have been taken by the GoM against those responsible in respect of the projects where there was scandalous and clear absence of work, reflecting on the absence of mandatory monitoring. This further also brings into question the integrity and efficacy of the monitoring mechanism of the concerned Ministry of the Union Government.      

 

  1. 8.      The status report of the GoM submitted in the tripartite talk was therefore frivolous and disrespectful of the intelligence and sentiment of the Naga people. The manner in which such gross irregularities have been committed in the name of development of tribal areas calls for an alternative arrangement where the same would not be allowed to happen and the people will have their due share of development and progress. 

 

  1. 9.      The considered view of the UNC is that real development cannot, or ever will,  take place in the hills/tribal areas under the existing political system and under the GoM because the system is programmed and structured in such a way that the tribals cannot ensure their own development. An alternative political arrangement

is the only answer.

      Sd/-

(L. ADANI)

President

United Naga Council

       30th August, 2013 

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