The United Naga Tribes Association on Border Areas (UNTABA) on Thursday claimed that Digboi Refinery and Numaligarh Refinery were built on Naga soil, stating that it is seriously considering taking legal action to obtain rightful justice and historical truths.
UNTABA chairman Hukavi T Yeputhomi and general secretary Imsumongba Pongen claimed in a statement that the government of India and the government of Assam have been pursuing inconceivable strategies to control the areas of approximately 4,974.16 square miles (equivalent to 12,883.07 square kilometres) that rightfully belong to the Naga people since they occupied these lands unhindered for over a century.
“It cannot be figured out how many millions and billions of Rupees have been extracted from Naga soil through petroleum and forest products. For instance, the Digboi Refinery was established on Naga soil and more recently, was Numaligar Refinery”, UNTABA stated
The UNTABA statements come as the Central Nagaland Tribes Council (CNTC) has called for the resumption of oil exploitation in Naga territories within the so-called "Disputed Area Belt" (DAB) and beyond.
While expressing displeasure with Nagaland's successive governments' lackadaisical attitude in failing to address the matter in its proper context for all these years, UNTABA stated that “It cannot be imagined that for many decades the Naga people have lost their underground resources and all their virgin forest products”,
According to UNTABA, the boundary between Assam and Nagaland runs from Golaghat to Tizit until the tri-junction of Assam, Nagaland, and Arunachal Pradesh, and from Golaghat to the Barak River bordering Manipur is well delineated in the British-India Government's 1875 Notification.
“Until and unless these historical facts is considered, it is the bounden duty of the Government of the day to explore all the available means to see that the Naga people should not be deprived of its rights over royalties on petroleum products, natural gases and forest products and that the Indo-Naga political solution, if it ever comes without considering these historical facts can never be acceptable and honorable”, it further stated.
UNTABA said it will insist on clear historical demarcations of the Naga people's land and that the Naga people should receive appropriate compensation for the exploitation of natural resources that rightfully belong to the Naga people, commending the CNTC for coming out strongly in favour of oil exploration and extraction in Nagaland in consultation with stakeholders.