By Vangamla Salle K S New Delhi, 18 Dec : In view of illegal arrests of the United Naga Council leaders in Manipur and creation of seven new districts in Manipur by Chief Minister Okram Ibobi Singh led government, the Joint Naga Civil Societies, Delhi (CJNCSD) recently staged a mass protest at Jantar Mantar in New Delhi.
Nagas in India as well as across the globe have strongly condemned the formation of seven new districts in Manipur and alleged that the state government is communalising the entire issue by polarizing the Nagas and Non-Nagas, the Meiteis and the Kukis.
"The problem that Nagas are facing is not an overnight issue but there has been a deep agenda by the government of Manipur to grab the land of the Nagas.
And, this has been testified and witnessed by the Nagas over the years and resisted profusely by the Nagas for several years," said Gideon Shadang.
He further said that 'after the declaration of the seven districts of the Manipur, the Nagas have been protesting in Manipur as well as everywhere and here the students are gathered to show our resentment.
The problem is that, in all these seven newly created districts, the sizeable lands in each districts belongs to the Nagas where the Nagas are now reduce to a minorities.
And that is the problem which we have come to say that we are against the creation of the seven districts." It may be recalled that, over the years, four Memorandum of Understanding (MoUs) has been signed between the Government of Manipur and various Naga civil societies (UNC, NSF and ANSAM) that "not even an inch of the Naga inhabited areas and its original land should be touched while creating any new district." which was appended by a written assurance from the Government of India.
However, the "bold" move of creating the new districts by the Manipur Government despite the fact that the state has been reeling under total shutdown along the National highways called by UNC since the 1st of November, 2016 in protest against the proposed creation of Jiribam and Sadar Hills district.
The CJNCSD alleged that rather than resolving the issue at hand, the knee jerk reaction of the Manipur Government was to discredit the legitimate concern of the Nagas by arresting Naga leaders Gaidon Kamei and Stephen Lamkang.
The formation of seven new districts amounts to redrawing of Naga boundary by the Manipur government without any jurisdiction.
The Joint Naga Civil Societies also alleged that in creating the seven new districts, Singh has blatantly undermined the precedence of societal trust in polity and policy.
It is also clear that the political intent of this hasty decision to create seven new districts is simply to dissect the Nagas into pieces with the intent to disrupt the anticipated framework agreement.
"All this divisions of our land has been engineered and done to bring disunity among the tribals, especially among the Naga people.
That is why, they are dividing us; they are dividing our people into different districts so that we will never come together and raise our voices together for our rights," said Mani Charenamai, former Manipur MP.
The CJNCSD alleged that the Government of Manipur did not consult the hill people and other stakeholders, and even the constitutionally instituted Hill Areas Committee was bypassed.
"They (Manipur govt.) are trying to nullify the power and the functions of the Hill Areas Committee. So many Naga areas have been affected. Kangpokpi was a hill district, but now they have added the valley area into the Kangpokpi district. The distinctiveness of the hill areas is gone," Charenamai added. "The UNC is observing a peaceful shut down along the national highways and we will continue until all Naga leaders are released and this formation of seven new districts is withdrawn," said Sira Kharay, Public and Information Secretary of the CJNCSD.
The CJNCSD has raised an issue that the adverse impact the creation of Jiribam, Kakching, Kamjong, Kangpokpi, Noney, Pherzawl and Tengnoupal, is going to have on the Nagas and our ancestral land.
The nature of the ethno-demographic distribution is also a deliberate design to reduce the Nagas to a mere minority group in all these districts.
The CJNCSD opines that these newly created districts will be completely militarised to exert full state authority with force and might.
Thereafter, the huge influx of population of various other ethnic groups into these new districts is inevitable to evict the Nagas and dominate their ancestral territory.
These areas will become a buffer zone which will restrict the free movement of Nagas. On the contrary, the Meiteis, Kukis and others will have free access to the segregated areas. The CJNCSD has submitted a memorandum to Prime Minister Narendra Modi and appealed to the Centre to take cognizance of the prevailing political imbroglio in Manipur.