The proposed next round of talks among the representatives of the Union and State governments and the United Naga Council (UNC) on Thursday at the district headquarters of Senapati in Manipur are facing rough weather. After an inordinate delay the Union government is arranging the next round of talks. The UNC has been demanding “alternative arrangement” for the Nagas in Manipur contending that the Nagas in Manipur no longer want to stay under the “communal government led by Okram Ibobi Singh”. The earlier talks were inconclusive and infructuous.
Ahead of the next round of talks two Kuki tribal organisations, the Kuki Impi Manipur and the Kuki Organisation for Human Rights, have submitted a memorandum to Prime Minister Manmohon Singh saying that the outcome of the talks will not be acceptable to the Kukis in Manipur. Manipur has been the home of the Nagas, the Kuki and the Meiteis for generations. The Naga and the Kuki tribals inhabit the mountains while the non-tribal Meiteis have been settling in the valley districts.
The memorandum says that if any talks are to be held at all the representatives of these three indigenous communities should be involved. It further says that a competent law court should first try the cases of “murdering” 905 Kuki tribals in Manipur and uprooting of 360 Kuki villages by the armed marauders. Besides, 1,00,000 Kukis were rendered homeless following the pogrom. It recalled that the UNC had served quit notice to the Kukis on October 22, 1992 since it contended that certain districts are the “lands of the Nagas”. No district belongs to any particular tribe or community, the memorandum by the Kuki organisations pointed out.
In the backdrop of this memorandum the next round of talks is likely to be perfunctory and lukewarm and may not result even in an interim agreement. But in the past the UNC and other Naga organisations had launched agitations, including shutdowns of the national highways thereby starving the people of consumer items since the two national highways that are the lifelines of Manipur pass through Naga villages.