United Naga Council (UNC) has asserted on Friday that it will not accept activities of the government to “legalize the new districts in Naga areas”. The Naga body specifically mentioned the March 27, 2021, Manipur cabinet decision.
It can be recalled here that a state cabinet meeting held on March 27 had approved to conduct Autonomous District Council elections in the state including 4 new districts—Kamjong, Tengnoupal, Pherzawl and Noney.
In a press statement issued to Newmai News Network (NNN) on Friday evening, UNC stated, “UNC Presidential Council meeting was held on April 9, 2021, following which this statement was issued to the general public on the established political position of the Naga people on land, identity, history and political rights”.
With regards to the creation of new districts, UNC said that the Government of Manipur and the Naga people have signed 4 Memoranda of Understandings (MoUs) on December 14, 1981, November 10, 1992, September 27, 1996 and June 23, 1998 and also the intervention of the Government of India on November 24, 2011 that all stakeholders including Naga body(s) who would be affected by such creation would be consulted. “The spirit of signing the MoUs and the intervention of the Government of India is that ‘Naga people would be consulted while creating new districts’”, it added.
The Naga body then said that, while Nagas are upholding, the Government of Manipur outrightly created 7 new districts on December 8, 2016. “In response, Naga Consultative Meet was held on December 12, 2016 at Tahamzam (Senapati) headquarters and resolved to roll back the newly created 7 districts”, the statement of UNC also said. In this connection, the Naga people imposed 139 days of economic blockade from November 1, 2016, the UNC statement recalled. “UNC lifted the economic blockade in the meeting of tripartite talk among the Government of India, Government of Manipur and the representatives of United Naga Council on March 19, 2017 at Senapati headquarters after agreeing that ‘the grievances of the United Naga Council which led to the imposition of economic blockade by them was recognized as there was no adherence to the 4 (four) Memoranda of Understanding (MoUs) and the Government of India’s assurance on the matter. The Government of Manipur agrees to start consultation with all stakeholders to redress the same’”, it also said, adding, “Since then, there have been 9 rounds of inconclusive tripartite talks at political level”.
The statement of the Naga body then said that the decision of the UNC taken on December 12, 2016 to roll back the newly created districts still stands firm. “Therefore, UNC rejects the decision of the state’s cabinet meeting of March 27, 2021 on newly created districts since it is still pending and tripartite talks inconclusive and also, will not accept any activities to legalize the newly created districts,” it asserted.
Finally, the UNC statement said, “And also as had apprised to the State Government through media houses earlier to withdraw the term ‘cabinet meeting’ held on January 15, 2021, at Kamjong from Government’s Cabinet records is still being awaited and for its failure, the slogan ‘Go to Village’, ‘Go to Hills’ mission will be discouraged from Naga areas w.e.f. May 1, 2021 onwards”.