GUWAHATI: Nagaland Chief Minister TR Zeliang finds himself in a spot of bother after an FIR was lodged against him by a Manipur MLA for his alleged attempt to “breach” the state’s unity and territorial integrity.
Speaking at a conference of Naga villages in Manipur on Wednesday, Zeliang had called for de-recognition of “artificial boundaries” drawn across Naga ancestral land on the ground that the Naga villages were “village republics” and never part of Manipur’s Meitei (Manipuri) kingdom.
“The land, inhibited by the Nagas, was never part of the Meitei kingdom. It was brought under the geographical boundary of Manipur by the British for administrative conveniences.
As such, the Nagas must not allow anyone to take away their land and administrative system,” Zeliang had appealed. In the FIR filed at an Imphal police station on Saturday, the Manipur MLA, L Ibomcha Singh of the Nationalist Congress Party, accused the Nagaland CM of sedition.
“His speech was offensive and seditious in nature. It will create communal disharmony, particularly between the Nagas and the Meiteis,” Ibomcha alleged.
Earlier, Manipur Chief Minister Okram Ibobi Singh, besides some Manipuri organisations and politicians, had slammed Zeliang. “Unlike Manipur (which was annexed with the Indian Union following India’s independence), Nagaland was never a nation. It was carved out of Assam (in 1963),” Ibobi had retorted.
He had asked his Nagaland counterpart to “go through the history of Manipur, which was never a part of India”.
Under attack, Zeliang later issued a rebuttal saying he had “spoken about the need for the Nagas of Manipur to be united to protect their birthright over their land, customs, culture and tradition”.
He claimed that he had, at no point of time, spoken about the territorial integration or disintegration of Manipur which “Ibobi seems to have assumed”.
The Nagas have a sizeable population in Manipur. They are settled on the hills across the Imphal Valley where the Manipuris are in a large majority.
The Manipuris are always wary of the state’s territorial integrity following the contentious demand of major Naga insurgent group National Socialist Council of Nagaland (Isak-Muivah) or NSCN-IM for the creation of “Greater Nagaland” by slicing off the Naga-inhabited areas of Manipur, Assam and Arunachal Pradesh.
The NSCN-IM, which has been in peace mode since 1997 following its signing of ceasefire agreement, has held over 70 rounds of talks with the Centre but a solution continues to elude the Nagas.
(Source: New Indian Express)
(Featured Image Source: Legal Eagles/ Representational)