Mani Charenamei rides autonomy plank
Source: The Sangai Express / S Singlianmang Guite

Lamka, April 08 2009: The incumbent outer MP, Mani Charenamei today fielded topic of political autonomy for the subjugated tribes of the state to garner votes while campaigning for his re-election at Synod Hall here.

The representative who had drawn significant remarks due to his persistent campaign for Naga integration, once again reiterated that unification of the Nagas and that of other indigenous people in the state will be upheld by him and his party, the PDA.

"We were under oath to uphold the national integrity and not the state's integrity," he said, talking of the oath taken once an individual is elected in the state assembly or the parliament.

"I am not backing the killing and other violent acts of the underground groups, but I know they are fighting for a cause and if we are afraid to raise our voice for their cause, we will never see the light of development in our land," he told the gathering.

Championing the cause of the marginalized tribals Charenamei said, 'let us give a deep thought, what a rubbish we are if we could not exploit our own rights to safeguard and develop our own land'.

'Some have accused me of concentrating only on issues and neglecting the developmental aspect.

Let me make it clear.

I am not supporting the underground groups and I am not against development,' but what good is it if the state government twisted what ever we ask for.

How can we, how can we equal others in this kind of situation, he said.

He cited the recent stand off in Manipur University, the delimitation process in the state, lack of infrastructure in the hill districts and many others to support his claim.

'How can we develop in this situation, the majority community has turned communal, we have been marginalized,' he said.

Talking about the facilities on offer at interiors during his tour to border regions, Charenamei posed, 'if we have a state of our own, can't we have that kind of facilities and development.' 'We have the same number of population and the same kind of land.

Let us rule our land and we can be better than Mizoram, he added.

With the same number of population and land the tribals in Manipur were represented by 20 MLAs while their counterparts in Mizoram and Nagaland have 40 to 60, he went on lamenting.

The PDA candidate also talked about the basic facility of awarding space in the capital for tribal vendors to the avenue provided for the valley youths to hone their sporting skills and that of the avenue in offer for the hills.

'Why the disparity?' he asked.

'If we have a vision while selecting our leader, we shall never escape from our present misery.

We have been subjugated by the majority community.

How can we equal others in this kind of situation? We have to preserve and protect our rights, culture and identity, he exhorted.

Charenamei, meanwhile cited disagreement of the state government as one reason why the sixth schedule was yet to see its light in Manipur and pledged that it would be priority of the PDA to address such problems of the hill tribes.

He also maintained that amalgamating himself with the national parties would only prevent him from raising such an issue; the issues that really concerns the marginalized tribals.

Coining similar stand at the rally, MLA Awangbo Newmai said, 'our grievances are treated as minor by the majority community.

So, let us join our hands and fight for our rights'.

Another Independent MLA that accompanied the candidate, W Morung Makunga was more vocal on the issue.

Mani Charenamei dared what others don't even dare to poke a word with, he will raise your grievances in the Parliament, he said.

The government of Manipur is against the implementation of sixth schedule and district council election, though the development will not even hamper the state budget.

Such is the magnitude of loathe they have for the tribal people, why should we still promote this kind of government, he declared.

Appealing the gathering, which appear to be much more mature than the couple of high profile gathering before in the township, Charenamei asked them to ponder over the words they have uttered and decide which part they opted for.

'Please don't say that Mani is unknown to me.

Please don't go to the jhum fields or go hunting on the voting day.

Your valuable vote will decide your future,' he said.