Contd from previous issue
28. In 2016, National Investigating Agency (NIA) revealed the nexus between the Nagaland Government and the militant outfits. There was organized collection of money from the Government employee in their respective offices and diversion of Government funds for development to support the activities of the Naga insurgents. The State Government of Nagaland was, therefore, indirectly providing Indian Tax payer’s money to the insurgents to fight the GoI.
29. In October 2019, NIA Inspector General Ashok Mittal revealed the involvement of NSCN cadres in terror funding and trafficking of arms for supplying to Left Wing Extremist (LWE) groups. NSCN also provides shelter and training to many insurgent groups.
30. The Nagaland Legislative Assembly passed resolution four times in December 1964, August 1970, September 1994 and December 2003 respectively for the integration of contiguous Naga inhabited areas. This action is not conducive for promoting peace and harmony in the region.
31. The Meiteis consider 19 tribes of Nagas in Manipur as their blood brothers due to the conversion of Meitei to Naga/Kuki or vice versa. Their elders have an affinity and common values. The Nagas of Manipur were from a different kingdom till the state’s merger with India in 1949. Now, Nagaland and Manipur are the states of the same country and various tribes of Naga from both the states can live as good neighbours. The Naga of Manipur would progress faster without the interference and extortion by the Naga Insurgents.
32. With the effort of PM, N Modi the historic Framework Agreement was signed with NSCN (IM) in August 2015. The GoI also signed an Agreement with the Working Committee (WC) comprising six Naga National Political Groups (NNPGs) of Nagaland in November 2017.
33. The Parliamentary Standing Committee on Home Affair 213th Report on the security situation in the NE states, recommended to explore the extension of modified Article 371A to the Naga inhabited areas of adjoining states. The hill districts of Manipur claimed by the Nagas are cohabited by the Nagas and the Kukis at the ratio varying from 50:50 to 75:25. It would create very serious problems in Manipur as people living in the same districts are discriminated on ethnic lines. There is no ethnically homogeneous district in Manipur that can be aggregated to only Naga or the Kuki.
34. The women in Manipur, Assam and Arunachal Pradesh enjoy full rights provided by the Constitution of India. However, Article 371A was used to prevent 33% reservation for women in the administration of local body in Nagaland. Therefore, Article 371A is against the gender equality and regressive.
35. As per Article 371A, no Act of Parliament shall apply to the state of Nagaland in respect of “ownership and transfer of land and its resources”. Various organizations in Nagaland objected to the memorandum issued by the GoI on regulation and development of minerals in the state. The organization stated that mineral oil is included in the resources of the state. Therefore, extension of Article 371A to any other state is against the interest of the country.
36. On 06 October 2019,the convener of WC of NNPGs, Mr. N KitoviZhimomi stated that “The GoI is not in a state to disintegrate neighbouring states and integrate to the Nagaland state. So, we have mutually agreed that the territorial issue should be kept open and continued with democratic process.”Further, the Chairman of NSCN (K), Yung Aung stated on 01 November 2019 that “the fight will continue till our goal is accomplished”. Therefore, even after the final Naga Peace Accord the Naga movement for integration will continue with the militant support of NSCN (K).
37. TheNagas were known for hard work and honesty. However, their characteristics have been severely eroded by the prolonged insurgency. Exposure to easy money from corruption and extortion has broken the morale backbone of the Naga. A large number of youths in the region now do not know any other way to earn a livelihood except by intimidation and extortion. Recently, the traders and the transporters have alleged physical assault by NSCN (IM)cadres demanding fresh 1% Sales Tax on the total cost of all essential commodities transported along the NH37.
38. The insurgency will survive and flourish in the region as long as the people are vulnerable to extortion. The GoI should initiate adequate proactive measures to curb extortion and dismantle the existing networks for extortion. After the rehabilitation of the existing cadre of insurgents, NSCN (K) Yung Aung faction or some other outfits should not continue intimidation and extortion. The common people in the region will get the true benefit of the Naga Peace Accord only when there is freedom from violence, intimidation, illegal taxation and extortion.
39. The GoI and the NSCN (IM) reached an understanding on 31 October 2019, and a spoke person of the latter stated that “we have agreed to finalize the Agreement”.Normal life in Manipur has been severely affected since mid October 2019. There are a lot of tension and stress in the minds of the people due to uncertainty, the possible negative impact of Naga Accord and deployment of a large number of Central Security Forces.
The Coordinating Committee on Manipur Integrity (COCOMI) has spearheaded alert rallies and protest almost in all the localities of the valley demanding the GoI to reveal the details of the Agreement. The fact news and rumours have generated anti India sentiments. A Meitei organization has announced formation of a Manipur Government in exile in the UK. It is not conducive for the development of young minds and it may permanently harm them. They would behighly vulnerable to the propaganda of various militant groups and anti social elements.
As per the media report, there are two versions on the possible impact of the Indo- Naga Peace Talk on Manipur. One the Naga dominated districts of Manipur and Arunachal Pradesh would be converted into satellite territorial councils administered by a proposed bicameral Naga Parliament.The other version is that the GoI is considering a proposal to give economic package and constitute a Separate Development Authorities for 7, 2 and 1 Naga dominated districts of Manipur, Arunachal Pradesh and Assam respectively.
In both the above cases, the administrative arrangement of the state would be affected if the funds are allotted to a Separate Development Authority bypassing the State Government and it would finally lead to the disintegration of the state in due course of time. As mentioned above, all the hill districts of Manipur are cohabited by the Nagas and the Kukis. It would also discriminate the Naga and the Kuki living in the same district on ethnic lines.
Therefore, any economic package to the Naga dominated 7 hill districts is also required to be extended to the remaining Kuki dominated 3 hill districts of Manipur to avoid discrimination between the Naga and the Kuki. In order to maintain the integrity of the state it is paramount that the funds are allotted through the existing Hill Area District Council of Manipur or the Hill Area Committee (HAC) of Manipur.
The people of Manipur pray for the people of Nagaland to get maximum benefit from the Indo-Naga Peace Accord. However, ifit contains anythingwhich wouldaffect the integrity, administrative arrangement and theinterest of the state in the future, there would be prolonged violence and disturbance. Instead of solving, it would create much more problems in the region. The unofficial Naga flag discussed in the Naga Talk should be allowed only in Nagaland as it could create a lot of problems in Manipur. Article 371C provides special provisions for the legislation and administration of the hill areas of the state in the form of the Hill Area Committee (HAC) of Manipur. Therefore, the problems of the Nagas of Manipur and the Kukis should be considered separately under the above Article.
There are Tamil dominated districts in Kerala and Andhra Pradesh. There are also Telegu dominated districts in Karnataka and Kuki-Chin- Mizo dominated district in Manipur. The GoI ensured that the Mizoram Peace Accord 1986 did not have any impact to Manipur and other adjoining states. If the Indo-Naga Accord extends anything beyond Nagaland it would open the Pandora’s box in the other states.
There is a genuine concern about the lack of development of the hill districts of Manipur. The MLAs from the hill districts are the members of HAC, and the Governor of Manipur is entrusted with the special responsibility and power for the proper functioning of HAC. The Committee has failed to work in the interest of the tribal and for the development of Hill districts. The functions and financial power of the HAC, and resources in the office of the Governor of Manipur may be augmented for the proper working of the HAC and the administration of the hill areas. Only when the augmentation of the functions and the financial power of HACdo not give the desired result, inclusion of Manipur in the Sixth Schedule of the Constitution of India can be examined. The states included in the Sixth Schedule are also facing serious development problems of the tribal areas.
Three extremely important and urgent steps are recommended for the people of Manipur:
1. In view of the prevailing grave situation, the Government of Manipur (GoM) and the COCOMI should mutually cooperate with each other by assuring a special session of the Assembly by the former and by ending boycott to the Sangai Festival by the latter.
2. The GoM, CSOs, and the experts in the various fields should discuss the crucial issue of the development of hill districts with the Naga and the Kuki who are keen to preserve the integrity of the state and they should be assured of immediate remedial measures. All should work to arrive to a consensus for pursuing with the GoI during the meeting of stakeholders.
3. The journalist and the media personnel should bring out the true facts about the Naga insurgency in the national newsmagazines, newspapers and electronic media.
Once more citizens of India, including the members of Rajya and Lok Sabha are aware of the above facts about the Naga insurgency and there is consensus among the stakeholders in Manipur, the GoI would not take any decision to change the territorial integrity, administrative arrangement and anything that would affect the interest of Manipur to appease some militant groups or a particular ethnic group among the multi ethnic society of the state.
The writer is a retired Captain, Indian Navy, NM and can be reached at [email protected]