Manipur Naga body prescribes social boycott of Congress MP-elect, 2 others

The United Naga Council’s public notification is seen as a reaction to the defeat of the candidate of NPF, a BJP ally, in the Outer Manipur Lok Sabha constituency

Updated - June 14, 2024 07:23 pm IST

Published - June 14, 2024 07:52 am IST - Guwahati

Members of the Naga community participate in a rally organised by the United Naga Council. File photo

Members of the Naga community participate in a rally organised by the United Naga Council. File photo | Photo Credit: PTI

An apex body of the Nagas in Manipur has prescribed a seven-year social boycott of Congress MP-elect Alfred Kanngam S. Arthur and two others, who contested the Lok Sabha election from the Outer Manipur constituency as independents.

Mr. Arthur bagged the Outer Manipur seat by defeating Kachui Timothy Zimik of the Naga People’s Front (NPF) 85,418 votes. Independent candidates S. Kho John and Allyson Abonmai finished third and fourth.

In a public notification on Thursday (June 13), the United Naga Council (UNC) said it took the action against Mr. Arthur, Mr. John, and Mr. Abonmai as they “purposively defied and failed to respect and honour the position” of the organisation in the parliamentary polls.

The election to Outer Manipur comprising 28 Assembly segments was split into two phases on April 19 and April 26.

The UNC also took note of the trio’s “wilful attempt to challenge the Naga peoples’ position and its spirit of unity”. The ‘position’ refers to the pre-poll appeal to consider Mr. Zimik as the consensus candidate and declared support for him from most of the apex organisations representing the 21 Naga tribes of Manipur.

Mr. Arthur and Mr. Zimik belong to the Tangkhul Naga tribe, while Mr. John is a Poumai Naga and Mr Abonmai a Liangmai Naga.

“They are hereby debarred from public platforms, and holding any position or leadership in the Naga society for a period of seven years with immediate effect,” the notification signed by H. James Hau, the information and publicity secretary of the UNC, read.

The Naga body directed all its constituent units, subordinate or associate units and the Naga populace to uphold the resolution and enforce it in their respective jurisdiction accordingly.

The notification is being seen as a reaction to the NPF’s failure in retaining Outer Manipur although the UNC said the decision was pursuant to a resolution it had adopted in its emergency assembly on May 29, a week before the election results were announced. The NPF’s Lorho S. Pfoze had won the seat in 2019.

The UNC’s action has been been slammed on social media platforms as “cheap and immature”.

“It also looks like a dictatorial statement out of frustration. After all, they failed to get their proposed candidate elected,” one of the comments read.

The Outer Manipur constituency is unequally divided into areas dominated by the Nagas, Kuki-Zo, and Meitei communities. Most Kuki-Zo people abstained from participating in the election to protest the government’s failure in checking the ongoing ethnic conflict.

The campaign in the Naga areas of Outer Manipur was marked by violence and attacks on the Congress candidate.

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