The talks between the government and the United Naga Council (UNC) to end the Manipur economic blockade has failed.
"Disappointed with today's parleys but efforts to break logjam to continue," the Union government said on Tuesday.
Meanwhile, the Presidential Council of the UNC was convened to consider the outcome of the tripartite meeting of the Union government, Manipur government, and the UNC held on February 3 here. The core issue discussed in the tripartite talk was the issue of declaration of seven new districts by the Manipur government on December 8, 2016 without consulting the stake holders. The UNC feels that the declaration of the new districts was in "utter disrespect" of the 4 MoUs signed with Naga organisations and assurance given by the Union Home Ministry.
"The GoM only pleaded its helplessness on taking up the core issue in the talk as the election code of conduct, which has come into effect from January 4, 2017 prohibits any political decision for roll back or otherwise either by the GoM or the GoI," a UNC said in a statement.
The next tripartite talk for taking up the core issue was then scheduled for March 25, 2017.
The GoM and GoI moved for creating a conducive atmosphere for the next tripartite meeting and it was agreed that none of the parties would go to the press on sensitive matters discussed in the talk. However, reports quoted Chief Minister Ibobi Singh as having said that "the core issue has not been put on the agenda and that the UNC protest would be called off". Opposing it, the Presidential Council stated in its resolutions, "The Nagas and their land are inseparable is reaffirmed. The land gives us our identity, tradition and culture. In the land lies our future as a people. That, the Nagas have rejected the declaration of seven new districts on December 12, 2016 and strongly demonstrated the rejection with the mass rally held in Naga district headquarters on December 15, 2016."
"There is constitutional safeguard and protection for the tribal people in Manipur under the Constitution of India – Article 371C (2): The Governor shall annually, or whenever so required by the President, make a report to the President regarding administration of the Hill areas in the State of Manipur and the executive power of the Union shall extend to the giving of direction to the State as to the administration of the said areas,“ it said.
"In the given circumstance, the Presidential Council after thorough deliberation concluded that the code of conduct cannot limit the Union of India nor the Governor of the State of Manipur from intervening and fulfilling their constitutional obligation to safeguard and protect land of the tribal as enshrined in the constitution. The Presidential Council therefore reiterates the rejection of the creation of 7 new districts and resolved to continue to fight against the insidious design of grabbing our land on the pretext of administrative convenience till the same is withdrawn. It was further resolved that Nagas would also reject and fight against any other moves that would affect our land and identity," it added.