The United Naga Council (UNC) has appealed once again on Friday “to the Meiteis and the Kuki-Zo group” to immediately desist from targeting, provoking and attacking the Nagas, their homes and properties in the Imphal valley and also in the peripheral hill areas.
“Should this appeal go disrespected in the Imphal valley, we will have no option but to call upon the Nagas in Imphal valley to vacate it for taking up further appropriate measures thereafter”, the UNC said in a statement made available to Newmai News Network tonight.
“On the same line, should the Kuki-Zo group continue with their targeting of Nagas, free access to Naga township and villages and free passage across Naga areas will have to be prohibited”.
The UNC then said it issued this statement in view of several incidents and situations that have been happening, targeting the Nagas in the context of the prevailing situation in the state of Manipur.
The statement said that the position of neutrality decided upon by the Nagas in the quest of peace and communal harmony in Manipur in the wake of May 3, 2023, violence brought about the following casualties amongst many others.
On May 24, 2023, four Naga women from Ukhrul were attacked and molested by a mob in Imphal, the UNC cited.
On June 18, 2023, a Liangmai Naga house was burnt down at Leimakhong by Kukis, the UNC further cited.
On July 16, 2023, a Maring Naga woman was shot dead at Sawombung, Impha,l and the body was found mutilated, it further said.
On September 5, 2023, a Liangmai farmer was beaten by Kuki Revolutionary Army (KRA) personnel on Imphal-Tamei road for refusing to pay illegal tax.
On September 27, 2023, “outrageous provocation and an attempt to murder involving blatant gun firing against Naga leaders by one individual self-proclaimed Kuki National Front (KNF) cadre at Kangpokpi.
On December 3, 2023, 3 Tangkhul men were beaten up by armed Meiteis at Sawombung, Imphal, the UNC also said. On December 11, 2023, two Rongmei Naga girls were beaten up at Bishnupur Bazaat.
On December 11, 2023, one Naga driver from Tamenglong was beaten up in Imphal.
On December18, 2023, four Naga girls working in beauty parlour were kidnapped in Imphal, the UNC also said.
On January 29, 2024, a Tangkhul Naga boy was kidnapped from Mantripukhri, Imphal.
On January 31, 2023, two Zeliangrong Nagas were kidnapped and held hostage from Bishnupur district, the UNC added.
n addition to these incidents, the UNC also said the following “unwarranted and unacceptable acts” were also perpetrated upon the Nagas alleging that Nagas were subjected to unwarranted cutting off inter village roads/blockage/construction of bunkers/ checking/frisking/extortion of taxes along the National Highways and inter-district roads by armed Kuki militants and womenfolk.
Frisking/checking, violent behaviour, kidnapping, looting and extortion were meted out against Nagas by “Meitei radical groups” and womenfolk in Imphal valley; collection of money from citizens on highways by Meira paibis; churches were burnt and demolished, and sacrilegious acts were committed inside religious place of worship by the “radical Meiteis” in the name of waging war against a community, the UNC added.
“In all these acts of violence, intimidation, disrespect and insult, the common admission of mistaken identity have been cited. In the interest of peace in spite of the extreme provocations, Nagas have addressed the many sensitive situations and sought to resolve them through customary laws and practices. Yet time and again our people have been attacked with impunity, making mockery of the many agreements and resolutions for restoration of peace and good relations,” the UNC statement further added.
It then said the “Meitei legislators, who have submitted to the Arambai Tengol in the January 24, 2024, Kangla capitulation cannot claim anymore to be the government of the entire State of Manipur and has limited its powers, functions and relevance to the valley and the Meitei community only”. Not to speak of reigning in the non-state actors, it has allowed itself to be dictated and co-opted into a radicalized organization, the UNC also said.
“It is no wonder that the attacks on Nagas in Imphal valley have not been prevented or addressed with state instruments as it should be with a state government in place,” the UNC stated.
“The Meitei legislators and the Government of India owe it to the people of India to explain what it has been doing for the last 9 months with the situation going from bad to worse day by day, while Nagas have become victims of its neutrality to the conflict,” the UNC further stated.
“In view of the above, the United Naga Council issues this statement particularly to the Meiteis and Kuki-Zo group to immediately desist from targeting, provoking and attacking the Nagas, their homes and properties in the Imphal valley and also in the peripheral hill areas. Should this appeal go disrespected in the Imphal valley, we will have no option but to call upon the Nagas populace in Imphal valley to vacate it for taking up further appropriate measures thereafter”, the UNC statement cautioned.
On the same line, should the Kuki-Zo group continue with their targeting of Nagas, free access to Naga Township and villages and free passage across Naga areas will have to be prohibited, the Naga body further cautioned.