Ibobi incited blockade: UNC
IMPHAL, 22nd JAN: Reacting to reports about chief minister O Ibobi Singh commenting that there are neither Nagas in Manipur nor do the land belong to any particular community, three former United Naga Council presidents contended that such irresponsible attitude and conduct of the CM is the root cause of the on-going economic blockade.
A joint statement issued by former council presidents namely KS Paul Leo, Samson Remei and L Adani highlighted that UNC is the apex tribe-based civil society organisation of the Nagas in Manipur mandated to protect the land and rights of the Nagas in particular and the tribals in general.
The four memorandums of understanding, which were signed between the Government of Manipur and Naga organisations, agreed that creation of new districts, if any, should not be done without consulting the stakeholders, they said.
While pointing out that there is also an assurance from the Government of India, based on the declaration of chief minister Ibobi in the presence of the then Union home minister Chidambaram and UNC delegates that sentiment of the stakeholders would be respected, the statement explained that the stakeholders include those whose lives, land, livelihood, situation and opportunities would be affected by any decision of the state government.
Position of the Nagas is democratic, fair and constitutional, the joint statement said, while adding that the MOUs and assurance did not emerge from the magnanimity of the Government of Manipur but each of them were extracted with agitations and self-inflicted pains.
The issue of land is very dear to the tribals and Nagas. Land gives us our identity. Our culture, way of life and value system evolves from our relationship with the land. Land is our present and land is our future, the ex-presidents maintained.
On the chief minister’s comment that land belongs to the state and not to any community, they claimed that such stand is against the very spirit and letter of Article 371 C of the constitution which gives cognizance to the land rights of the tribals in Manipur state.
“He (Ibobi) has from his official throne also went on to state that there are no Nagas in the Manipur, which amounts to negating our identity that has evolved through history, land and political consciousness,” the joint statement said.
At the fag-end of his present tenure with barely few months left, Ibobi choose to desecrate the MoUs and assurance, knowing fully well that extreme protest will follow, knowing that social divides will aggravate and the people will suffer, the joint statement asserted.
“What noble purpose inspired him (Ibobi) and his government to create not only two districts, which have been vehemently opposed, but seven districts drawing lines that would divide the people, alienate people from their ancestral domain and disturb peaceful co-existence of communities,” the four UNC presidents wondered.
“We also vividly remember that towards the end of 2011, Ibobi had enacted the same stunt with regard to declaration of Sadar Hills district-hood before facing the 2012 state assembly election and he came back for another five years to create havoc in the lives of the people of the state. The tragedy of this episode is that the people of the present state of Manipur, especially the intellectuals have not questioned Ibobi but has been accepted as the champion of a community, which has been subtly engineered to differentiate the others from their interest,” the statement continued.
Further stating that Ibobi is truly the chief minister of his own and not of the entire people of the state, the former presidents asserted that as the economic blockade was initiated by the CM only his wisdom and realization can stop it.