AICC seal on Nagalim
Many deride 'endorsement', demand explanations
Source: The Sangai Express

Imphal, February 10: A number of voluntary organisations and political parties have come out strongly against the reported decision of the AICC to endorse the demand for the integration of all Naga inhabited areas under one administrative unit.

The seal of approval was included in the election mnifesto of the Nagaland Pradesh Congress Committee for the ensuing State election there.

The manisfesto was significantly released in the presence of the AICC secretary Siddarth Patil on February 9 .

Following the inclusion of the integration clause in the election manifesto, the Congress led SPF Government in Manipur held a meeting with Chief Minister O Ibobi in the chair yesterday (Saturday) evening and urged the AICC to drop the integration clause from the election manifesto of the NPCC (I), party sources said here today.

A purported map of Naglim

Reacting sharply to the move of the AICC, president of United Committee Manipur K Lanngamba said, "We cannot agree with the double standard stand of the Congress and if the report which appeared in some section of the press is correct then it will plunge Manipur into another mayhem".

The Telegraph in its February 9 edition carried the news report and the same was reproduced by The Sangai Express in Manipur in the February 10 edition.

Taking a serious view of the development, the UCM has submitted memoranda to AICC chief Sonia Gandhi and general secretary of Congress in charge of North East Prithiviraj Chauhan, demanding an explanation.

The memorandum asked Mrs Gandhi as well as Mr Chauhan to make available the extract copy of the relevant date and resolution of the All India Congress Committee and warned 'as a consequence of the news item a strong public resentment has been built up in Manipur, UCM needs a definite proof to pacify the public'.

Urging the AICC chief as well as Chauhan to treat the matter as 'very urgent', UCM said that if it fails to receive any communication in this regard, then the news report will be deemed to be factual and Manipur will may once again plunge into mayhem.

The All Manipur United Clubs Organisation (AMUCO) has also taken a serious view of the development.

When contacted president of AMUCO, Yangsosong Koireng said, "We will convene an emergency meeting to discuss the matter today".

Coalition partner in the SPF, the CPI has also taken a serious view of the matter and has urged the Chief Minister to do the needful so that the integration clause is dropped from the election manifesto of the Nagaland Congress unit.

Sounding a stern warning, the party's National Council member L Sotinkumar said, "If the Congress leaders endorse the stand of the NPCC then we will be constrained to take our own course of action to protect the territorial integrity of Manipur".

The CPI leader said that it has already been made clear during a district council conference of the party today that the matter would be brought to the notice of the UPA, the coalition Government headed by the Congress at the Centre.

The Left parties are extending outside support to the UPA Govt at Delhi.

Sotinkumar also reminded that the Common Minimum Programme of the UPA clearly states that the boundaries of the North East States will not be compromised.

Rising to the occasion the State unit of the Nationalist Congress Party said that following the latest development, an emergency meeting of the State Executive Committee of the party was held today.

In a statement, the NCP said that since it has always stood by the territorial integrity of Manipur, it strongly condemns the announcement of AICC secretary Patil that integration of Naga inhabited areas has been included in the election manifesto of the NPCC (I).

Since the pronouncement of Patil has the potential to sow the seeds of distrust and animosity amongst the people of the North East, the AICC high command should explain its stand, said NCP and demanded clarifications on two points.

In the first place if the announcement of Patil was correct then a copy of the decision taken by the AICC should be made available to the people of Manipur, said the statement and added that if the announcement was wrong then a clarification should be issued by an office bearer of the AICC holding a post not below the rank of secretary.

In the meantime former Deputy Chief Minister and MPP president Dr L Chandramani has categorically stated that in case there is truth in the disclosure made by AICC secretary Siddharth Patil on AICC's endorsement of its Nagaland unit's demand for integration of all Naga-inhabited areas, then we can rest assure that the Congress party is trying to disintegrate the existing boundaries of the North Eastern States.

On the other hand, MPCC president Gaikhangam has reiterated that his party would never agree to Naga integration and would always stand committed to the cause of territorial integrity of Manipur.

Addressing a press conference at the party office here today, MPP Dr L Chandramani said MPP strongly condemned the remarks made by AICC secretary Siddharth Patil on the approval of AICC over inclusion of Naga integration issue in the manifestos of its Nagaland unity for the upcoming State election.

There is nothing wrong in integration of the Nagas within Nagaland State, but MPP would never agree to the approval of AICC for integration of all Naga inhabited areas as it would amount to disintegration of the North Eastern States, he said, adding that the implication of the approval of the AICC should be considered more seriously than June 18 incident as it has come even after the then BJP-led NDA Government and the present Congress-led UPA Government at the Centre have given their commitment on protection of the existing boundaries of the North Eastern States in their common minimum programmes.

Meanwhile, MPCC president Gaikhangam has also stated that Congress party in Manipur is opposed to the Naga integration issue and endorsement of the issue in the election manifestos of Nagaland State is really unfortunate.

MPCC has not move an inch from its avowed stand on protecting of the territorial integrity of Manipur, he said, adding that Congress party of the neighbouring State should not rake up an issue on which the UPA Government is already committed to in its common minimum programme.