SENAPATI, Mar 14 (NNN): The next round of `tripartite talks` involving the United Naga Council (UNC), the Government of India and the State government of Manipur is likely to take place sometime in April or May but the Naga body is already gearing up in preparation for the next round of talk.
The Government of Manipur had reportedly submitted a list of development projects being supposedly implemented in the hill districts in the 5th `tripartite talk` held on February 12, 2013 to establish that it (Manipur government) has been doing enough in the hill districts or `tribal areas` with regard to the development projects. The representatives of the Manipur government had also reportedly stated that the demand for the `Alternative Arrangement` for the Nagas in Manipur was beyond the brief and mandate of the team and that could be taken up only at the political level and that they would like the `tripartite talk` to examine how equal development could be brought to the hills. The UNC is said to be taking up intensive verification on the listed projects and documenting what was the development of the hills that the Manipur government was talking about.
“The Nagas` demand in Manipur for the Alternative Arrangement has nothing to do with the development issues. But since the Manipur government had told the Government of India that it has been doing enough in the tribal areas in Manipur, we have to expose the false claim and we have been conducting intensive survey ,” said L Adani, President of the UNC. .
When asked if the claims of the Manipur government turns out to be true what the UNC should do, L Adani quipped, “One or two projects might have been implemented well but you see we are from the hills and we know the condition very well and real development cannot take place in the hills in the existing arrangement .”
The UNC President further reiterated that the Nagas in Manipur are demanding for the Alternative Arrangement (AA) in order to protect the Nagas` identity, to protect the land resources of the Nagas, the tradition, the culture and to have the dignity and honour as a people.
“Our history is different. We were never part of the Meitei kingdom. The Nagas were in isolation in their village republics. We were brought under Manipur without taking our free and informed consent. It was protested right from the beginning. That’s why our issue is political and the next round of talk as already placed by UNC in the last talk must of necessity be a political one”, L Adani stated.