UNC leaders meet Central leaders, to return home today
Newmai News Network
NEW DELHI, September 24
[dropcap]E[/dropcap]xpressing satisfaction after meeting Central leaders, the 10-member delegation of the United Naga Council (UNC) will return to Manipur tomorrow (September 25).
“Most of our demands have been considered and reviewed by the Central Government including the New Land Use Policy (NLUP) and the withdrawal of CrPC 144 from Ukhrul,” said a UNC leader in New Delhi.
The UNC team landed in New Delhi on September 16 and from the following day the team started meeting several leaders including Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh. During the meetings, the UNC team pressed the Central leaders to resolve the Indo-Naga politcal issue at the earliest, to which the latter assured the Naga team to do so.The United Naga Council apprised the Government of India for expediting the Naga peace talks and for an acceptable and honourable settlement of the issue. The UNC team also highlighted the Central leaders that the Government of Manipur with Manipur State forces, is in utter disrespect of the Indo-Naga cease-fire. The UNC team also told the Central leaders on the alleged unabated aggressive policies of the Government of Manipur to encroach upon the ancestral lands of the Nagas and tribals through Laws, Acts & Notifications to subvert the protective provisions of the Manipur Land Revenue and Land Reforms (MLR & LR) Act, 1960.
According to the UNC, there is a democratic process of dialogue at the tripartite level of the Government of Manipur, Government of India and the Nagas of Manipur under the aegis of the UNC on the demand for an alternative arrangement outside the communal Governmemt of Manipur pending settlement of the Indo-Naga issue and it has logically progressed to a stage where a high powered committee would be set up by the Government of India to translate the demand into a political reality. But the Government of Manipur under Mr Ibobi has intensified their communal policies and actions to legitimise the destruction of the traditional institutions and usurpation of the ancestral lands of the tribals and the Nagas through legislations, administrative orders and notifications.
The UNC team also told the Central leaders that the Government of Manipur has moved for establishment of Village Development Committee (VDC) in each village in the name of development. The VDCs are to be chosen by the general body of the village but without the involvement nor endorsement of the village council/village authority, the ultimate traditional authority of the village. Instead of strengthening the village council/village authority, a parallel body with development function is to be put in place to render the Chiefs, Khulakpas and Khunpus impotent and irrelevant . The village which is the primary polity of the tribals is being pushed into a conflict and division situation. This is a move to destroy the village republic system of the Nagas and the tribals, the UNC said.
In the earlier memorandum to the Prime Minister, the UNC said, “Although Manipur Land Revenue & Land Reforms Act, 1960 (MLR&LR Act) is not applicable in the tribal area of the hills, the GoM after passing the bill for a Separate Revenue Directorate for the Hills in 2012, has notified for extending the jurisdiction of the Revenue Tribunal Manipur to Ukhrul, Tamenglong, Chandel and Churachandpur and the District Judge, Senapati has been appointed as the Presiding Officer, Revenue Tribunal Senapati. Every Naga and tribal village have their own distinct territorial boundary and jurisdiction.
The tribals have their own way of life and to them the land and the people cannot be parted as their culture, tradition and identity are interwoven with the land. The constitution of Revenue tribunals in the tribal districts is a subtle move to get around the MLR&LR Act and legitimize the usurpation of the ancestral lands of the tribals”.
The UNC also said the New Land Use Policy of Manipur (2014) (NLUP) based on the Mizoram model is being taken up by the Government of Manipur ostensibly to improve productivity and minimise demand on land resources. Mizoram has 100% tribal population and their experience therefore will be universal in terms of legal implication on ownership of land. In the state of Manipur, where 41 % of the population is tribal, who owns 90% of the geographical area of the state, the NLUP is just another ploy to dilute the land ownership of the tribal people. There are no Khas land in the Naga territory in Manipur. But the NLUP is roping in the Village Development Committees, the newly conceptualised instrument for abolishing the village republic system of the Nagas and the tribals and to encroach upon our lands, the UNC stated.