4th September, 2015
RESIGNATION OF FOUR NPF MLAs FROM
THE MANIPUR LEGISLATIVE ASSEMBLY
We, the following Members of the Manipur Legislative Assembly belonging to the Naga People’s Front, elected to the Assembly in the General Elections held in March, 2012, have tendered our resignation from the membership of the assembly with effect from the 4th September, 2015:
|SI No.||Name of MLA||Constituency|
|Mr. L. Dikho
Mr. Samuel Risom
Mr. ST Victor Nunghlung
Dr. V. Alexandra Pao
- We have resigned our membership of the Assembly despite the Assembly’s tenure is to expire only in March, 2017 i.e. when the Assembly has another nearly two year’s term.
- Thus, we have resigned our membership as a supreme sacrifice for the protection of the short and long term interests of all the tribal people including Nagas inhabiting the hills districts of Manipur.
- Our resignation from the Assembly is a serious and severe protest against the consistent, cruel, crude and unpardonable anti-tribal and anti-Naga attitude, approach and actions of the Ibobi Singh Government as evident from its recent legislative measures such as the protection of Manipur People Bill, 2015, the Manipur Land Revenue and Land Reforms (Seventh Amendment) Bill, 2015, the Manipur Shops and Establishments (Second Amendment) Bill, 2015 and the Resolution on the Indo-Naga Peace Accord. The height of anti-tribal, anti-Naga and undemocratic posture of the Ibobi Government is its persistent denial to constitute and notify the two Autonomous District Councils in Chandel and Tamenglong despite a clear majority obtained by the Naga people’s Front in these two districts.
- We have been steadfast in our opposition to these legislative measures in the House. We sought time from the speaker, Manipur Assembly, for the detailed participation in the debate on the Bill’s and the Resolution. In view of the brute majority at the command of the Ibobi Singh Government in the House, the Speaker had not only bull dozed our genuine aspirations for debate on the bill so that our voice for the tribals and Nagas of the Hill Districts was not registered on the records of the Assembly. We wanted to table our amendments to the Bills and Resolution so that these draconian legislative measures are tamed to protect the people of the Hill districts, which were not allowed.
- The Speaker followed a steam rolling procedure of not allowing sufficient time for us to express our views and to table amendments as otherwise these Bills and resolution would have been moderated after parliamentary persuasion. We were also not allowed to stage a walk out from the House at the time of passing of these measures as the Speaker jumped procedure to declare that these measures were passed without due deliberations and without allowing us time to register our final protest of walk out.
- Our resignations are aimed at condemnation of the protection of Manipur People Bill, 2015 which treats Nagas and other tribes from Nagaland and other states in the Region as non-Manipuris and compelling them to have ILPs to enter Manipur thereby making them foreigners in their own land. Such legislation is squarely contrary to the very spirit of the agenda on the table of the Indo-Naga Peace talks, of which the strident aspiration is to bring all Nagas in the contiguous areas under one umbrella. This legislation is nothing but a ruse to derail the Indo-Naga peace talks and thus not only anti-Naga but anti-national in as much as it aims at throwing a spanner in the peace talks.
- Our resignations are an expression of our deep indignation against the Ibobi Singh Government on behalf of all tribals and Nagas, for drastically altering the customary land holding system in the Hill Districts through the Manipur Land Revenue and Land Reforms (Seventh Amendment) Bills, 2015. This Bills seeks to insert sections 14A and 14B in the Manipur Land Revenue and Land Reforms Acts, 1960 empowering Deputy Commissioners and the State Cabinet to divest tribal and Nagas of their lands by nullifying the customary laws of the Hill people. On the one hand, when the Congress Party has launched a nation-wide year long agitation against the NDA’s land acquisition Bill, the Ibobi Singh Government in Manipur is surreptitiously seeking to usurps the land of tribals and Nagas of the Hill Districts thereby demolishing the demographic structure of these districts b facilitating fresh settlers and destroying the unique land holding systems of the tribals and Nagas in these districts. We NPF MLA’s have therefore demonstrated by our resignations that this demolition and destruction of their Hill Authority, culture, customs and land tenure systems will be stoutly resisted and stopped.
- The Manipur Shops and Establishments (Second Amendment) Bill, 2015 is also an assault on the traditional rights of the tribals and Nagas of the Hill Districts of Manipur.
- All the three Bills which are of crucial significance to the customary and cultural lives of the tribals and Nagas of the Hill Districts of Manipur were passed in one single day, without debate, without permission to move amendments, and without following the legislative procedure enshrined in the Constitution of India and the Rules of Procedure of the House. The MLA’s from the Hill Districts especially the NPF MLA’s clarion call for democratic procedure went unheeded both by the Speaker and by the Ibobi Government.
- The basic Constitutional mandate of consulting the Hill Areas Committee constituted under article 371C of the Constitution of India on all these measures was casually given a go by. In their urgency to colonize Hill Areas and to strangulate the voice of the people and their representatives of the Hill Districts, the Ibobi Government had trampled upon their democratic rights and passed these draconian measures in the most undemocratic manner.
- As though this was not enough, on the same day, i.e. on the 31st August, 2015 itself, another resolution on the Indo-Naga Peace Talks was hurriedly passed by the Ibobi Government in total collusion with the speakers. The amendments proposed by the NPF MLAs were disregarded. Though the NPF MLAs opposed the Resolution which questioned the agenda of the Indo-Naga Peace Talks, the Resolution was so worded that it sought to dismember the items of the agenda like “integration of contiguous Naga areas” from the ongoing Peace Talks. By introducing such word like “administration of the State of Manipur” in the Resolution, the Ibobi Government had directly interfered with the alternative solutions being explored by the Government of India for integrating Nagas of the Region. By urging the Government of India to amend Article 3 of the constitution of India to make the views of the State Legislature concerned mandatory for altering the boundaries of a State, the Ibobi Government has jumped the gun even before a solution is found to the protracted political problem of the Nagas. In nutshell, the Ibobi Government appears to have decided to be a permanent stumbling block to the solution to the Naga Political Problem, which is highly condemnable and against which, we have decided to resign from the Assembly to be with the people of the Hill Districts. Despite our opposition, in the most partisan manner, the Speaker had shown the resolution as having been passed unanimously.
- We hereby call upon all concerned including the governor of the state, the president of India, the NDA Government at the Centre, the Interlocutor for the Indo-Naga Peace Talks, the people, the churches, the leaders and the workers of all political parties to untie, consolidate and act in tandem so that the injustices committed by the Ibobi Government through the aforesaid legislative measures and resolution on the people of the Hill Districts, are halted and reversed.
- By this resignation of ours, we also declare that we do not believe in manipulation of House records and also declare that we were never been a party to the passing of the foresaid legislative measures. Thus the dubious records of the Assembly that state that these measures were passed unanimously should stand straightened by our resignations.
- We fervently hope that our resignations from the Assembly will bring about the much needed succour to the wounded feelings of all our brothers and sisters of the Hill Districts. This must be the beginning of a long and tireless journey but we shall overcome all our trials and tribulations on our way given the united support of all the people of the Hill Districts, As a precondition to the success of the Indo-Naga Peace Talks, we desire and demand the dismantlement of the parochial Government of Ibobi Singh so that it not only ensures the safety of the people of the of the Hill Districts but also assures the purity of the Peace Talks.
(ST. VICTOR NUNGHLUNG)
(DR. ALEXANDER PAO)