Kohima, July 7: Naga students campaigning for affiliation of schools in the four hill districts of Manipur to the Nagaland Board of School Education are planning to set ablaze textbooks prescribed by the Manipur board on Monday in a show of defiance against the Okram Ibobi Singh government.
Sources said the district units of the students’ union would stage demonstrations at the district headquarters of Ukhrul, Senapati, Tamenglong and Chandel.
The Ibobi Singh government has already launched a crackdown on private schools that are allegedly following textbooks used in Nagaland, ignoring the syllabus prescribed by the Manipur Board of School Education.
The demand by NGOs and student organisations is meant to add strength to the NSCN (Isak-Muivah)’s demand for the integration of all Naga-inhabited areas of Manipur, Arunachal Pradesh and Assam with Nagaland.
In Nagaland, the Naga Students Federation (NSF) accused the Manipur government of “distorting” history. This, the NSF claims, has necessitated the change in syllabi.
A delegation from the United Naga Council, the apex organisation of Nagas residing in Manipur, and student groups is camping in New Delhi for an appointment with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.
“We hope the Centre understands the issue and allows affiliation of private schools to the Naga Board of School Education,” Ansam president Paul Langu said over phone from Senapati.
Langu said students are gearing for a series of protests in all four districts and will press for a change in syllabi by the next academic session.
Unofficially, the student union has already distributed textbooks printed by the Nagaland government to 4,000 students in public schools of these districts.
During a recent meeting of its consultative committee for peace, the Neiphu Rio government urged the Centre to allow affiliation of private schools in these four districts of Manipur to the Nagaland board.
Rio said Delhi must allow the changeover because it was “the will of the students”.
The affiliation of a state school to the board of another state depends on the discretion of the Union human resource development ministry.
The NSF also asked the Manipur government “not to impose its will on the hill districts and particularly on the Nagas”. The Naga Mothers Association echoed the student organisation.