Message from UNC in the Valedictory Programme of the 3rd World Zomi Convention 2013

Message from the United Naga Council in the Valedictory Programme of the 3rd World Zomi Convention on 27th October, 2013 at Lamka Public Ground.

Respected Pu L. B. Sona, Chairman Zomi Council, K. G. Tungnung, Secretary ZC, Dr Pu R. Sanga, Convenor of the OC of this 3rd WZC and Pu Suanmoi Guite, Co-convenor of the OC, Pu Khaizasong Guite, Advisor ZC, All Presidents of the 9 tribes of the ZC, invitee dignitaries, leaders of communities and participants of the 3rd World Zomi Convention .

UNC President during the 3rd World Zomi Convention

UNC President during the 3rd World Zomi Convention

I and my colleagues from the UNC bring greetings to this convention from the Naga Peoples in Manipur and also from the Naga Hoho, the apex pan Naga organisation of the Nagas.

We thank the Zomi Council and the Organising Committee for the invitation to this historic convergence of the Zomis. The UNC is here in attendance this afternoon in respect and honour of the invitation and of this great event.

The Organising Committee in its letter of invitation had mentioned that since the 1st world Zomi Convention held at Champhai in 1988, significant geopolitical changes have taken place in the north east region of India and in neighbouring Myanmar. In the light of such changes it is indeed relevant to focus on the theme “ Moving Forward” of the Convention. The cultural exchange programme which stages different communities of the region reflects the reality of the changing world where isolation is a thing of the past and of history.

In this coming together of Zomis’ and other communities at the World Zomi Convention, we would like to strike a different note from what must have been shared and was shared by earlier speakers in the convention with due respect to their office and standings. The Zomi and the Nagas have a similar historical situation in that both our people were divided without our free, prior and informed consent when the demarcation of the subcontinent into India and Burma took place, which left us in different states within India and also in different countries. My message will be with reference to the past and the present situation of the tribals of Manipur.

We the tribals in Manipur are placed in an impossible situation where in a house of 60 MLAs, 40 comes from the non-tribal and dominant community. The equation is such that the 20 tribal MLAs, who are again divided on tribal and party lines, cannot assert for the rights of the tribal people when it is perceived to be detrimental to the interest of the dominant community in the state. While the spirit may be willing and good intention will definitely not be lacking, the equation and configuration in the system simply does not allow tribals to muster strength in unity. It is rights of the tribals versus the interest of the dominant community, in a system which weighs heavily in favour of the latter.  All throughout the so called shared history, the identity and dignity of the tribals has not been respected. Be it on our ownership of land and resources, our traditional institutions and culture, our political aspiration for empowerment, representation, employment opportunities within the system, development etc, whatever makes for good life – there has been relentless marginalisation and the same will continue should no changes be secured.

As we are all aware, today there is a demand emanating from the Imphal valley for recognising the dominant community as tribals and declaring Manipur as a hill state. The distinct identity of the tribals which finds its essence in their unique cultures and tradition is being proposed to be nullified in a new construct of “Manipur” and “Manipuri”. The ramifications are obvious : protection of our land, our employment opportunities and our representation will cease to be operative by law. It was this common concern that led to the institution of the Manipur Tribal Peoples’ Co-ordination Committee in August this year by the apex tribal organisations in the state. This demand for ST status of the Meeteis may come or may not come into place, but the tribals must not fail to discern the interest which has spawned this demand, for it is with the same disrespect with which our rights are being obliterated through laws, enactments & notifications. Therefore the  “Moving Forward” of the Zomi people and the tribals in the state of Manipur will continue to be scuttled should changes through an alternative arrangement be not secured.

Taking this opportunity we also appeal to the dominant and majority community to look afresh on the situation, where the sharp social divide is very, very real. We can work together to be strong people and communities. The state is not the property of any individual or any particular community. An alternative arrangement that brings changes to accommodate the identity, dignity, rights and political aspirations of all will be a boon for all the stakeholders. Without respect for the human person and our people, development cannot take place. Without respect development will and can only pretend to happen.  The magnanimity of recognising this imperative will push up all of us collectively to the brotherhood of mankind, where there is mutual respect and honour, free from oppression, subjugation and dominance upon each other.

On behalf of the Naga people, we also appeal to the tribal communities in the state and region for respect of each other’s genuine aspiration so that we can move forward to a shared future with the rest of humanity. We cannot wish away history. But history should not be interpreted selectively and to one’s own convenience. If we are to conditionalize our relationship with perceived aberrations of the past, the way forward together would indeed be perilous. It would be unfortunate if position are taken by factorising  equations, as in electoral politics, where one lands up with strange bedfellows and throw spanners upon each other’s movement, to please other  factors in the equation, be they state or non state, and win the argument of the day but loose what is truly cherished.

When it becomes more difficult to suffer then to change, the human spirit urges for change and to struggle for change. We have to make changes possible and that is the only option before us – the change that empowers our people. This is hard Politics and must be carried forward in spite of the overwhelming odd that we have spoken of. Towards this struggle for change, the UNC will support the rights of every tribal community. We would also maintain that the tribals must today prove themselves and be recognised for the aspirations and the rights that they uphold.

We therefore extend our solidarity to the Zomi Council and assure of our continued cooperation and support for the aspiration of the Zomis.

Thank you once again for this opportunity and this privilege in the 3rd World Zomi Convention.

Long Live Zomi Council !  Long Live Zomis !

( L. ADANI )

President

United Naga Council

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

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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

 

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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 

Crossing the bridge for an Alternative Arrangement : An opinion

The cry for an Alternative Arrangement outside the jurisdiction and legitimacy of the government of Manipur (GoM) by the Nagas in the present state of Manipur was not a hasty decision. The circumstances and conditions that led to this decision goes much deeper, and beyond the various perspectives, interpretation and speculations being made by State actors, Non-state actors and civil society.

Aware of the exhausted and limited strategies used in the past to achieve Naga peoples’ struggle for rights to life and property, identity, land, resources, traditional institutions and customary practices, the concept of “Alternative Arrangement” (AA) represents a resolute and confident strategy derived from within the collective thinking of the people. The AA stands for a peaceful and democratic process that goes beyond the notion of Manipur state territorial integrity.

Naga students, youths, women, men and traditional bodies in Manipur under UNC (United Naga Council) formed the NPC (Naga Peoples Convention) the highest decision making body. The NPC deliberation in 2010 resolved to severe all political ties with the GoM. It demanded the intervention of the Government of India (GoI) to form an Alternative Arrangement outside the present state of Manipur, is well within the legal provisions of the GoI.

The GoI responded with the suggestion for a tripartite dialogue between UNC, GoM and GoI at a ministerial level. However, the series of tripartite talks which began in 2010 have been at a bureaucratic level only; where the representative of the GoM repeatedly informs at the end of every meeting that: “….We have not come to any conclusion or agreement….we will discuss and deliberate again…”. While the GoI has acknowledged the AA issue as genuine, its unwillingness to engage in a dialogue based on mutually agreed terms implies that the tripartite dialogue is a premeditated strategy to delay the process and weaken the Naga people’s resolve by testing their patience.

The purpose and the method in which the tripartite dialogue is being carried on needs to be taken very seriously, lest, the Alternative Arrangement concept as well as its possibilities are pushed into oblivion.

Sustaining a peoples’ movement in a sophisticated bureaucratic ruled democracy like India, is a great challenge. In this form of bureaucratic ruled democracy, people’s movement are often caught within the cauldron of electoral political divide, thereby complicating their strategy in an already murky state of affairs. The controversial “elected unopposed” ADC members (Autonomous District Councillor) and inability to break through the impasse has furthered this uncertainty in Manipur.

The monotonous reaching-out programme by the AA and UNC to all Naga districts in Manipur has not been able to create a sustainable and decisive impact required to make the GoM respond to the people’s demand. The challenge of the UNC will be to sustain the movement for Alternative Arrangement while keeping in mind the impoverished economic conditions of the Naga people.

Time is therefore of the essence, and it will be worthwhile for the UNC to maintain a stipulated time frame in order to achieve their desired objective. Whereas, on the other hand, it will be strategy of the GoM to delay this process as long as possible, knowing full well the economic conditions of the Nagas.

The recent seminar organised by United Club of Manipur (UCM) on the theme “India’s Stand on the Territorial Integrity of Manipur” and the recommendation for mass movement and the subsequent decision of the Manipur Cabinet to protect the territory of Manipur state from the so called border dispute with Burma needs to be viewed cautiously. The timing and intention of the UCM recommendation and the Cabinet on the usage of “territorial integrity of the state” has deep rooted politics.

The outcome of the 6th round of AA talk at Ashoka Hotel Delhi as per sources is interesting, because the spirit of tripartite talks seem to remain overtly positive to all parties. Such formal pretentiousness is not helping in addressing the core primary issues. Rather this has reduced the process from actual dialogue at the ministerial level to negotiating around secondary issues. The politics behind this recent tripartite talk indicates that the GoI & GoM used it as a platform to convince UNC to lift its ban on the national project notably the construction of the power grid and Trans-Asian railway.

In the backdrop of the 6th round of talks, the hurriedly called meeting of the UNC presidential council and frontal organisations within 3 days of the talks which decided on lifting the ban on construction of national project was hasty and a breach of people’s trust and confidence. It was bad politics and not a well calculated decision. It has given advantage to the GoI and GoM. The UNC will have to rethink its strategy and return to the primary objective of the AA.

The GoM is also using development as a weapon to manufacture divisions with the UNC constituencies by initiating sectarian development. As part of Look East policy, upgrading Imphal Airport to an International Airport, massive tunnels cut through mountains belonging to the land of Zeliangrong Nagas (Tamenglong) for Railway to reach Imphal does not necessarily benefit the Naga People. However, GoM representative propounded these activities as development during the talk.

If the primary purpose for an Alternative Arrangement is to be achieved then the direction and leadership provided by the UNC must be united in purpose and people-centred. Therefore, consulting the people, seeking their opinion, disseminating information and keeping them updated of the process and sharing the purpose and objective of the AA and its campaign should be the focus of UNC.

There must be space for active participation of the youth and women. Simultaneously, UNC should continue to engage in dialogue with other communities and stake holders both within and without.

The direction of AA cannot be influenced by the interest of vested politician and other interest groups in the name of empowerment, upliftment and development, as this will have far reaching ramifications in the Naga people right over their political, social, economic and cultural future, including their ownership over land and resources. It is important that the future course of the Alternative Arrangement is decided by the people. The UNC needs to seriously and resourcefully motivate the people. In this regard, from past experienced counter-active methods such as bandhs and blockades should be discontinued, since it only creates bad publicity. More importantly, these methods instead of weakening the GoM has only strengthen them and it has compelled the dominant community in Imphal valley to become united. The UNC initiative should garner more support, rather than isolating themselves from the people and as well as other communities.

The UNC has clearly stated its understanding the mindset of the Meitei’s in its “Position Paper and Declaration for an Alternative Arrangement,” which says “The perception of the dominant community is the perception of the Manipur state government…To the Meitei’s, Manipur means Imphal and the people of Manipur means Meitei’s alone, and the tribals living in the hills and the 90% of the state’s areas belonging to the tribals are mere appendage.” Name any infrastructure, everything is completely centralised to Imphal alone hospitals, national and state institution, research centre, sports, culture centre, Manipur University, Central Agriculture University, Regional Institute of Medical Sciences, Jawaharlal Nehu Institute of Medical Sciences, National institute of Technology (NIT) Manipur Institute of Technology (MIT), Multi stadia Complex, Rice Research Centre, State Pesticide Testing laboratory, Soil Testing Centre, Software Technological Park, State Mechanise Farm, Seed Testing laboratory, Small and Medium Enterprise Development Institute, Sports Authority of India, Bio-diversity Conservation and Sustainable Development. Indira Gandhi National Tribal University, Veterinary Institute, Nursing, ITI, Polytechnic, Jawaharla Nehru Institute of Medical Science, State Institute of Rural Development, Tribal Research Centre, one can go on naming are cramped in Imphal and what is left in the hill areas just a name tag District HQ.

Therefore, it is paramount to understand the dynamics in achieving Alternative Arrangement. The challenge is not just trying to win over the GoI and GoM, but it also means convincing the other people to be convinced of the inevitable reality that Nagas must decide their own future.

This means the UNC must strengthen its relationship with the people and educate them and consult with them. The UNC will become a weak and powerless institution without the support of the people. The strength of UNC can only become stronger when the heart and mind of the people are with them. An inclusive and united approach is indispensable for AA.

Therefore, instead of maintaining status quo and following the same conventional operational strategy, a logical paradigm shift should be approached with series of envisioning process, such as discussion forum in different level of the society beyond the existing organisational level.

The Church also needs to be encouraged to get involved and should be utilized in dissemination of information. Creative symbolic gesture must be developed to keep people’s spirit active and creating open spaces for people to voice out their opinions should be encouraged. In this way, it will reduce the obscure views and propaganda which is promoted by vested people.

Providing platforms for school and college students through debates, symposiums and essay writing; and encouraging Naga artistes to write and compose music are some of the ways that the campaign can be strengthened. Naga journalist forum must be encouraged and strengthened since media is the weakest sectors for the Nagas at present. Engaging the Naga academician and scholars to facilitate and provide inputs, suggestions, criticism and analysis is a necessity at this juncture. Nagas from the present state of Manipur who are residing in the mainland India as students, research scholars, academicians, activist, and employees in govt. or private sectors can become an asset in reaching out and educating the people in India.

The Alternative Arrangement is a litmus test for the Nagas in Manipur, since it is only a strategy to ensure all Nagas come and live as one people in freedom and dignity.

It is only a temporary necessity. Shift from exclusive monotonous point of view to broadening the horizons of collective view needs to be approached for more pragmatic process. In the given situation the best way to realize as a dignified people is through an Alternative Arrangement outside the state of Manipur, come what may. May be then together we will continue to march singing …we shall overcome!

By
WG Vashum

IMF says no to 6th Schedule in Manipur

NTIMES 17Dec: IMF says no to 6th Schedule

IMPHAL, Dec 16 : opposing any move to implement Sixth Schedule in the hill areas of Manipur, International Mei-teis’ Forum has cautioned that no demand should be made or conceded that pose threat to the State’s territorial and emotional integrity. Addressing a press conference at Manipur Press Club here today, Forum’s founder member RK Rajendra opined that both the sixth Schedule sop to the Nagas and homeland demand by the kukis are detrimental to interest of the common people.

While it is beyond doubt that the meiteis are the majority community, the recent reported development on Sixth Schedule status for the nagas and homeland demand by the Kukis amount to not only undermining existence of the Meiteis and their history but also suggest that the majority community should remain silent and tolerate all the activities of other communities. Asserting that the Government of India would be held responsible in case there is any untoward incident arising out of these demands, Rajendra ridiculed inclusion of Manipur’s reserved forest land and protected area forests as ancestral land of the Nagas and Kukis.Forum activist Dr Mano-ranjan Khuman commenting on the issue maintained that the Naga nomenclature is a recently coined reference for history of Manipur clearly define the other indigenous communities as Tangkhuls, Zeliangrongs and anals etc. Moreover, the term Kuki came into being only after the occupation of the erstwhile independent kingdom of Manipur, he affirmed. Highlighting that ins- pite of the valley areas being the most populated locations 92 percent of manipur’s total geographical area are hills, Dr Ma- noranjan questioned whether the tiny hill-locks adjacent to the valley pockets would also come under the Sixth Schedule provision.

He further suggest-ed that declaration of the entire State of Manipur as a hill state and permitting all the indigenous communities to reside at any place of their choice would facilitate peaceful co-existence of all the communities. TSE

UNC says no to 6th Schedule, sticks to AA stand outside GoM

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 GoINSCN (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

UNC cautions against anti-Naga forces

UNC team: NNN picture

IMPHAL, Dec 5: United Naga Council (UNC) general secretary Gaidon Kamei has urged the Nagas in Manipur not to fall in to traps of anti-Naga forces who are hell bent on derailing the ongoing Naga peace process.

Elucidating, Gaidon Kamei said that Nagas should not beleive any speculation that Naga movement would not succeed.

“The Naga settlement is near and we should be very cautious in our dealings and we should not allow ourselves to be lured by anti-Naga agents,” said the UNC leader. He said Naga movement is not for sale. “Naga solution cannot be compared with material gains,” Gaidon added.

He was speaking at Somrei village in the adjoining zone of Senapati and Ukhrul districts today as part of the UNC awareness campaign on Naga issue which had kick-started from November 30.

“Our movement is purely a National movement started by our forefathers. We will go on as long as our goal is not achieved,” Gaidon added.

Gaidon also accused the State Government and billed it as ‘anti-Naga government’.

To drive home his point, the UNC leader said Naga leaders were given ‘wanted tags’ without rhyme and reason.

He was pointing to the wanted tags on ex-UNC chief Samsom Remmei and ANSAM leader David Choro to whom the state government had given wanted tags.

“There have been so many leaders in the valley who are indulging in all sorts of movements and agitations but the state government did not award them any wanted tag as had been done to the Naga leaders,” Gaidon Kamei alleged.

He then appealed the Nagas not to indulge in any communal activities but to work purely within the parameters to gain the Nagas’ rights.

Former UNC president Paul Leo said Nagas are fighting a benign cause and “we want peace”.

Paul Leo also said peaceful co-existence as good neighbours is what the Nagas ewant and appealed the gathering to shun any communal approach.

“The history of Nagas is unique,” added Paul Leo.

UNC leaders S Milan, Warngam, Solomon Ningshen of the Tangkhul Naga Long and others spoke on the occasion. NNN

UNC urges Prime Minister to facilitate early and honourable settlement

Imphal, December 01, 2012: The United Naga Council and other Naga tribes‘ bodies have urged Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to facilitate early and honourable settlement of the Indo-Naga issue on the basis of unique history and situation of the Nagas while seeking the PM’s intervention and exercise of political will to expedite the process.

“While our people await the historic settlement in great anticipation, we are concerned by the postures being projected by certain groups particularly in the present state of Manipur, without any historical or political basis in connivance with the communal Government of Manipur with the intention of disturbing the Indo-Naga peace process,” the Naga bodies apprised the Prime Minister in a representation.

The communal force particularly in Imphal Valley have lately been on the offensive by equating the impending settlement of the Indo-Naga issue with a ‘time-bomb’ in the public discourses and have been stridently inciting sentiments against the same, the representation stated. The Naga bodies conveyed strong feeling that taking cognizance of such frivolous postulation will be against the very spirit with which the unique history and situation of the Nagas have been recognised by the Govt of India.

Conveying that the conditions under which the Nagas in particular and the tribals in general subsist under Manipur Govt are unconstitutional as the democratic rights and guaranteed protections of tribals have been submerged by the interest of the dominant valley community, the memo stated that the political position of the Nagas in demand for an AA outside the Govt of Manipur pending settlement of the Indo-Naga issue has been drawn from this very mistakable fact.

“This position has already been registered with the Govt of India,” the memo stated while adding that the tripartite talk of the GoI, GoM and UNC on the demand already completed its fourth round. “Delay in the settlement of the Indo-Naga issue would tantamount to deprivation of democratic rights of the Nagas in Manipur to the extent of delay,” it posited adding that it is the moral responsibility of the Government of India to bring the Indo-Naga negotiation to its logical and honourable end at the earliest possible time. The memo asserted that honourable settlement of the Indo-Naga issue will bring peace not only in their land but also just peace for the entire North East people and the region and also benefits from it in genuine and long terms.

Apart from the UNC leaders, all the tribe leaders of the Nagas � ANT, BAP, TNL, KNH, ZB (Manipur), CTU, TNU, CLAM, INU, PMM, TTU, Mao Council, MUA, MNU, SUR (Monsang), LNNC, NPO (Spt), CNPO, ANSAM, NPMHR (South), and NWU appended signature in the representation. TSE