UNC to deal with mind block on Manipur blockade
By Prasanta Mazumdar | Express News Service | Published: 04th January 2017 06:56 PM |
GUWAHATI: Come January 7, Manipur’s apex social organisation of the Nagas, United Naga Council (UNC), will take a decision on whether to continue its “economic blockade” or lift it.
“UNC will meet the leaders of all frontal organisations of the Nagas of Manipur on January 7. They will express their views and accordingly, a consensus decision will be taken on the ongoing economic blockade,” UNC general secretary Milan Shimray told Express on Wednesday.
He said a consensus decision would also be taken on the banning of the construction of trans-Asian railways and other national projects in the Naga areas of Manipur.
The blockade was enforced since November 1 on two National Highways–the lifelines of Manipur–in protest against the decision of the State’s Congress government to create seven more districts, particularly Sadar Hills, without consulting the Nagas. In the wake of these developments, the State government had recently started providing security to bring the stranded goods-laden vehicles from Nagaland and Assam.
Meanwhile, the Election Commission on Wednesday announced the schedule for the two-phase Manipur polls. Shimray said, “It is an electoral decision but ours is a political issue on our ancestral land. We are concerned about our ancestral land”.
Asked if the UNC will make any appeal to the Nagas to boycott Congress in the polls, he said, “We have not yet discussed banning Congress in the Naga areas. Three anti-tribal bills were introduced in August and subsequently, four Naga People’s Front (NPF) MLAs had resigned in protest but eight other Naga MLAs (all of Congress) did not comply with the resolution of the Nagas (who had resolved to oppose the bills)”.
On August 31 last year, three bills – Protection of Manipur Peoples Bill 2015, Manipur Land Revenue and Land Reforms (seventh amendment) Bill 2015, and Manipur Shops and Establishment (second amendment) Bill 2015 – were introduced in the Assembly. The Nagas viewed the bills as anti-Naga and anti-tribals and registered their protests.
Shimray said the Nagas expected their aspirations, sentiments and opinions to be expressed through the elected Naga representatives. “But are they doing that? Let them answer,” he added.
“Congress didn’t fulfill our aspirations. These MLAs supported the stand of the State government on the creation of the seven districts or else they would have resigned,” he added.
Twenty of Manipur’s 60 Assembly seats lie in tribal areas. The rest are in Imphal Valley where pre-dominantly Meiteis (Manipuris) are in a large majority.