New Delhi: The United Naga Council (UNC) on Monday urged the Centre for imposition of President's rule in Manipur where an economic blockade by the organisation snapped two highways connecting the state.
The demand was placed by the UNC before Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh when a delegation of the group met in New delhi.
"We appeal for imposing President's rule in Manipur as the state government has failed completely on all fronts and law order has deteriorated. Creation of seven new districts is a ploy by the Manipur Chief Minister for electoral gains," senior UNC leader Adani Mao said at a press conference in New Delhi.
Mao, the former UNC president, who is at present looking after the affairs of the Council after the arrest of its senior leaders, alleged that Chief Minister Okram Ibobi Singh was trying "cheap tricks ahead of polls to hide the government's incompetency".
Claiming that violence has taken place in several areas of Manipur, Convener for Joint Naga Civil Societies, Lakpachui Siro, accused the Congress-led state government of disrupting peace by creating seven new districts for "electoral gains" ahead of the assembly elections next year.
"The state government is going to upgrade Sadar Hills and Jiribam regions to full-fledged districts without consulting the Nagas who inhabit the areas. Precious lands, which belong to them, are being snatched away and there are unrest in the state," he said.
The UNC, which has imposed an economic blockade on NH-2 (Imphal-Dimapur) and NH 37 (Imphal-Jiribam) that serve as lifelines for the landlocked state, said Manipur Chief Minister Okram Ibobi Singh decided to create seven new districts "without consulting" the Nagas who, they said, are the most important stakeholders.
The UNC has demanded immediate release of its President Gaidon Kamei and Publicity Secretary Stephen lamkang who they said have been arrested "arbitrarily".
The UNC has accused Meiteis of creating unrest in the state by killing innocent people, saying Meiteis are not only torching vehicles, burning down houses and looting Nagas, but also attacking places of worships in the state.
A tripartite talk involving a delegation each from the Manipur government, the UNC and the Ministry of Home Affairs was scheduled to be held in Delhi on November 15 on the current situation of the state but the state government did not send anyone to attend that meeting, Siro said.
In a gazette notification issued on 9 December, the state government announced the creation of seven new districts for administrative convenience, taking the total number of districts in the state to 16.
The decision has sharply divided the state's three main communities which are Meiteis, Nagas and Kukis. Though Meitei and Kuki groups have welcomed the move, the UNC has been protesting against it.
The UNC claim that the decision would bifurcate ancestral lands of Nagas in Manipur.
The Chief Minister said the move was aimed at addressing a long-standing demand of the majority Meitei community and the minority Kukis.
The ongoing economic blockade by UNC launched on 1 November against the state government's proposed move to create the new districts of Jiribam and Sadar Hills has resulted in black marketing of essential goods.
Out of the nine districts of Manipur, four districts — Imphal East, Imphal West, Thoubal and Bishenpur — are valley districts, and the five rest — Ukhrul, Senapati, Tamenglong, Chandel and Churachandpur — are hill districts.
The five hill districts are tribal districts. Valley districts are smaller with a high density of population but hill districts are sparsely populated.
On Monday, the situation in Manipur remained tense with violence spreading to Senapati district where miscreants torched two vehicles even as the Chief Minister appealed for peace among different ethnic groups of the state.
Indefinite curfew continues to remain in force in Imphal East district where mobile data services were suspended since Sunday to prevent spread of rumours. This will be in force till December 25.
Your guide to the latest cricket World Cup stories, analysis, reports, opinions, live updates and scores on https://www.firstpost.com/firstcricket/series/icc-cricket-world-cup-2019.html. Follow us on Twitter and Instagram or like our Facebook page for updates throughout the ongoing event in England and Wales.
Updated Date: Dec 20, 2016 21:09:35 IST