NTIMES 17Dec: UNC says no to 6th Schedule, sticks to AA stand outside GoM
IMPHAL, Dec 16 : Even as speculations are rife that the final outcome of the ongoing GoI–NSCN (IM) political dialogue could be the extension of the provisions of the 6th Schedule to the hill districts of Manipur, the United Naga Council has today asserted that such an arrangement would not be acceptable to the Nagas of Manipur. Speaking to some media persons at Mao today, UNC president L Adani said that their demand is an Alternative Arrangement for the Nagas of Manipur, outside the Government of Manipur and pending a final settlement to the Indo-Naga political dialogue.
Elucidating, L Adani said 6th Schedule comes within the Government of Manipur while the demand for an Alternative Arrangement is out- side the Government of Manipur and added that this is not something lower than the 6th Schedule. The Alternative Arrangement demand, outside the Government of Manipur, has been raised to protect our identity, safeguard our dignity and our rights, said Adani and added that the Government of Manipur has abysmally failed in ensuring this. Adani added that the question of sovereignty does not arise under the Alternative Arrangement demand.
“The demand for Alternative Arrangement is outside the Government of Manipur but within the Constitution of India,” he elaborated. “We are a civil society organisation and there is a National movement to protect and uphold the basic identity of the Naga people. The Alternative Arrangement is a demand for the Nagas of Manipur pending a final settlement to the bigger issue,” added Adani. Without naming any particular organisation, Adani said that “the mandate of the Naga people has been given to them. However if the 6th Schedule is sought to be portrayed as the solution, then it would not be acceptable to the UNC and the Naga people.”
To a question on whether the reported proposal (6th Schedule) put forward by the Union Home Minister to Chief Minister O Ibobi is acceptable or not, Adani made it clear that 6th Schedule cannot be the solution. Our demand has gone beyond the 6th Schedule, he added. “Even though local self Government may sound acceptable, we know that it would never be extended in its full spirit, so our demand is something outside the Government of Manipur,” said Adani further.
Justifying the demand for an arrangement outside the Government of Manipur, Adani said that under the present condition, the Nagas of Manipur have not been able to exert their own identity. Socially, economically and politically the Nagas have been deprived of their rights under the Government of Manipur, he said and added that even on the matter of rights over land, the State Government is trying to extend the provisions of MLR and LR Act to the hill areas. In the State Assembly, which has a strength of 60 members, the tribals, including the Nagas, account for 20 of them, said Adani. Even here, the Naga MLAs are divided along party lines.
On the other hand, the rest, the 40 are from the majority community, he said and added that the 40 MLAs work for their community cutting across party lines. This in effect means that the Nagas have no representatives to work for their interest in the Manipur Legislative Assembly, he asserted. TSE