Alternative arrangement is interim: South Nagas

DIMAPUR, JANUARY 6 (MExN): Nagas in the present state of Manipur today reiterated that alternative arrangement is, interim in nature and primarily aimed at securing a political and administrative substitute independent of what it described as, Meitei domination.

“The demand for alternative arrangement is for an emergency intervention to change the unbearable and intolerable conditions under which the Nagas in Manipur have been compelled to subsist on,” the United Naga Council (UNC) said. 

“The intervention must be urgent and interim in nature so as to accommodate our immediate administrative needs without any prejudice to the legitimate political aspiration of the entire Naga family,” read the joint statement issued by Sword Vashum chairman and L. Adani member secretary of the Committee for Alternative Arrangement.

“It shall not and cannot undercut and upstage the larger Naga national issue,” the apex Naga body of Manipur said. 

Further, the UNC said, “What the Nagas in Manipur are seeking, with the blessing and goodwill of all Nagas at large is to save and protect our future and identity and to ensure our survival with honor and dignity.” 

No prejudice to the Naga family; to part with Meiteis as good neighbours
This demand, the UNC said, arose due to the declared of severance of all political ties with the Government of Manipur during the Naga Peoples’ Convention which was convened at Tahamzam on the July 1 last year. The decision was arrived at because it became impossible to protect our right to life, land, time-honored institutions, customary practice and values under the administration of the dominant and communal Government of Manipur, it read. 

“The vacuum in governance and administration created thereby, it was further declared, must be filled with an alternative arrangement by the Government of India in consultation with the Naga people at the earliest possible time,” the statement referred to the July 2010 declaration. The UNC said the decision to sever ties had been endorsed by the Naga Hoho at Kohima on June 18, 2010 and subsequently confirmed in the 3rd federal assembly of the Naga Hoho at Mokokchung on July 16 last.

The UNC said that until 1891, what is now Manipur consisted “only the Imphal valley” and that the “Britishers, recognizing the distinctiveness and separateness of the Nagas, administered the Nagas and their lands through the Crown’s political department.”

“Before India’s independence, the Nagas were never subjected to the rule of the Maharaja of Manipur”, it claimed. After India’s independence, Naga areas were arbitrarily transferred to the Maharaja of Manipur without the consent of the Nagas, through acts of subterfuge and deception, it added. “The story of the Nagas in Manipur since then has been one of complete marginalization, victimization, discrimination and Meitei domination.
The entire system of governance is conceived, designed and engineered towards systematic degradation and obliteration of Naga history, culture and identity. The Nagas in Manipur have suffered loss of rights and privileges, loss of due share in economic development, and most materially loss of their honor, dignity and identity,” it argued.

Consequent to, what the UNC called, a war that was waged upon the innocent and unarmed Naga citizens at Mao on May 6, 2010 by the Manipur State Government, the Naga Hoho had on May 8 last declared that “…henceforth, we [Nagas] derecognize any artificial boundary lines drawn across our ancestral lands in the so called Manipur State”.

Allaying suspicions of ulterior motives, the UNC said they “have neither sought direction from anyone high or low nor has anybody named or unnamed given us instructions.”

“We the Nagas in Manipur who are compelled to seek for the alterative arrangement have no ulterior motive other than the firm conviction that all avenues for rapprochement for meaningful and peaceful co-existence have been exhausted and therefore the best way forward for the Nagas and the Meiteis is to part as good neighbors,” the UNC said.

The Nagas in Manipur would be “safe only in the indivisible common destiny”, the UNC said. that the history, identity and honor of the Nagas would be safe. It is with this clear conviction that the Nagas in Manipur have embarked upon the historic mission to secure an alternative political and administrative arrangement independent of Meitei domination and subjugation.