Imphal: The United Naga Council (UNC), the apex body of the Nagas living in Manipur, has reaffirmed its stand on the rollback of the seven newly created districts in the state. The decision was taken during its presidential council meeting held in Imphal on Friday.

“UNC is once again compelled to issue this statement to the general public on the established political position of the Naga people on land, identity, history and political rights,” the council said.

During the meeting, UNC also resolved to reject the decision taken by the state cabinet on March 27 on the newly created districts. The Naga body also questioned the state government’s sincerity towards the matter since the tripartite talks between the Centre, Manipur government and representatives of UNC on the newly created districts remain inconclusive.

“Since the matter is still pending and the tripartite talks are inconclusive, we will not accept any activities to legalise the newly created districts,” said UNC.

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On March 27, the Manipur government approved the conducting of elections to the Autonomous District Councils (ADCs) in all the hill districts, including the newly set-up Kamjong, Tengnoupal, Pherzawl and Noney.

Reiterating the matter, UNC further stated that in regards to the creation of new districts, the government of Manipur and the Naga people have signed four Memoranda of Understandings (MoUs) on December 14, 1981, November 10, 1992, September 27, 1996 and June 23, 1998. Also, the intervention of the Government of India (GoI) on November 24, 2011 that all stakeholders including Naga body(s) who would be affected by such creation would be consulted, it said.

The spirit of signing the MoUs and the intervention of the GoI is that Naga people would be consulted while creating new district(s), it said.

Despite the Nagas upholding the agreement, UNC alleged that the government of Manipur outrightly created seven new districts without any consultation on December 8, 2016.

In response, a Naga Consultative Meet was held on December 12, 2016 at Tahamzam (Senapati) headquarters and resolved to ‘roll back newly created seven districts’, it said.

In protest against the formation of the newly created districts, the UNC imposed a historic economic blockade along the national highways from November 1, 2016 for non-adherence to the four MoUs signed between the government and the UNC earlier. However, after 139 days of imposing the blockade, UNC lifted the economic blockade following mutual understandings between the stakeholders.

“UNC lifted the economic blockade in the meeting of tripartite talk among the Government of India, government of Manipur and the representatives of United Naga Council (UNC) on March 19, 2017 at Senapati headquarters after agreeing that “the grievances of the United Naga Council which led to the imposition of Economic Blockade by them was recognized as there was no adherence to the 4(four) Memoranda of Understanding and the Government of India’s assurance on the matter,” it said.

The government of Manipur agrees to start consultation with all stakeholders to redress the same. Since then, there have been nine rounds of inconclusive ‘Tripartite Talks’ at the political level, UNC stated, while adding, that the decision of the UNC took on the December 12, 2016, to ‘roll back’ the newly created districts still stands firm.

It further stated that the Naga body had earlier apprised the state government through the media to withdraw the term ‘Cabinet Meeting’ held on January 15, 2021 at Kamjong from government’s records; however, the government is yet to act, it said.

The Naga body also threatened the state government that for its failure, the “Go to Village” “Go to Hills” Mission would be discouraged from the Naga areas from May 1, 2021 onwards.

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