Imphal, Sept. 24: Revolutionary Peoples Front (RPF) came out strongly against New Delhi’s attempt to extract oil from Manipur and United Naga Council (UNC)’s demand for an “alternative administrative arrangement” for Nagas living in Manipur.
In his statement issued on the eve of the 34th foundation day of its military wing Peoples Liberation Army (PLA) tomorrow, the outfit’s president, Irengbam Chaoren, termed extraction of oil from Manipur as a “loot” of natural resources meant for future generations of the state.
He also termed the demand for an alternative arrangement for Nagas outside the purview of the Manipur government as “communal”.
The opposition came as Jubilent Oil and Gas Private Limited, headquartered at Netherlands and based in Noida, is trying to explore oil blocks in the districts of Tamenglong, Churachandpur and Imphal East. People have already raised objections to the oil exploration.
Public hearing on oil exploration had met with strong opposition.
“Our priceless environment and natural wealth could be protected only when the hill and plain take a collective decision by shedding sectarian outlooks. The strong opposition put up by communities in the hills of Manipur against the attempt to extract oil clandestinely is a right step. We all should join the movement,” Chaoren said.
Neighbouring Nagaland has also witnessed opposition to oil exploration with the ONGC being asked to leave in the nineties. Subsequent attempts to resume operations have also failed.
On the issue of the UNC’s demand for alternative arrangement, the statement read, “The communal policies of Manipur government should not be fought with alternative arrangement. It is equally communal. This will only pull apart the people and widen differences between communities further”.
On the recent exodus of the Northeast people from other cities of India in the wake of the BTAD violence, the RPF said it was the result of the same attitude of “mistrust” shown by Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel, who allegedly told Jawaharlal Nehru that people of the Northeast could not be trusted because of their Mongoloid features.
It also charged the threats and intimidation to northeastern people in other Indian cities as racism.
On the ongoing peacetalks between the government and various armed groups, the outfit said any settlement under the framework of the Constitution could not end the sufferings of the people.
The RPF, with its armed wing PLA, is one of the major groups fighting for Manipur’s sovereignty. Its cadres were initially trained in China.
The outfit, which is closely monitoring new Delhi’s moves in seeking military support from Southeast Asian countries to crush armed opposition groups in the Northeast, made it very clear that it would not enter into any talks held under the Indian Constitution.