Placing the views of the former United Naga Council presidents on the situation in Manipur, the Naga council leaders have blamed chief minister Okram Ibobi responsible for the present blockade that has completed 82 days.
In a joint press statement of the UNC’s former president K.S. Paul Leo, Samson Remei and L. Adani released today asserted that Ibobi is truly the Chief Minister of his own and not of the entire people of the state. The Economic Blockade was initiated by the Chief Minister. Only his wisdom and realization can stop it, added the statement.
The statement says the UNC is the apex tribe based civil society organization of the Nagas in Manipur mandated to protect the land and rights of the Nagas in particular and the tribals in general.
There are four Memorandums of Understandings with the Government of Manipur and Naga organizations that creation of New Districts would not be done without consulting the stakeholders. There is also an assurance from the Government of India, based on the declaration of Shri Ibobi, the Chief Minister of Manipur in the presence of the Union Home Minister, Shri Chidambaram and UNC delegation that such sentiment would be respected. The stakeholders are those whose lives, land, livelihood, situation and opportunities would be affected by such decision. This position is democratic, fair and constitutional. These MOUs and assurance did not emerge from the magnanimity of the Government of Manipur but each of them were extracted with agitations and with 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 Chief Minister is on record stating that land belongs to the state and not to any community, going against the very spirit and letter of Article 371 C of the constitution which clearly gives cognizance to the land rights of the tribals in Manipur state. He has from his official throne also gone on to state that there are no Nagas in the State of Manipur, negating, our identity that has evolved through history, land and political consciousness.
At the far end of his present tenure with barely few months left, Shri Ibobi chooses to desecrate the MOUs and assurance, knowing full well that extreme protest will follow, knowing that social divides will aggravate, knowing the people will suffer. What noble purpose inspired this man and his government to create not only 2 districts which have been vehemently opposed but 7 districts on a midnight drawing lines that would divide peoples, that would alienate people from their ancestral domain, that would disturb peaceful co-existence of communities. We also vividly remember that towards the end of 2011, Shri Ibobi had enacted the same stunt with regard to declaration of Sardar Hills districthood before facing the 2012 State Assembly election and he came back for another 5 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. He has been accepted as the champion of a community, which has been subtly engineered to differentiate the others from their interest, added the statement.