All Manipur Students’ Union and Naga Peace Talk

Sh Ajit *

 A rally for peace 'Expedite Framework Agreement' from Phalee to Somdal :: 14th August 2018
A rally for peace 'Expedite Framework Agreement' from Phalee to Somdal in August 2018 :: Pix - Oken Luwang

The call of unifying voice against the unannounced Framework Agreement for the ‘final solution’ of Naga Peace Talk raised by All Manipur Students’ Union (AMSU) in the last Manipur Legislative Assembly Election is still remembered by all sections of Manipur.

Their deep concern of the integrity of Manipur is understandable and is beyond the geographical integrity. It is not a mere cry for unaltered boundary. Their voice is deep rooted in history, social and political processes of Manipur that goes through ages. Their war cry is for the harmonic relations of different communities living in Manipur.

Manipur is not simply a landmass, but a historical entity. The Naga Peace Talk leads to confusion rather than a bright future in North East India in general and in Manipur in particular.

The basis and nature of the peace talk is not clear even to the Nagas. This peace talk is meant differently to different nationalities and to different communities or ethnic groups.

The ‘progressive’ peace talk is secretive by nature, is not revealed in Indian Parliament; hence, any other persons or groups cannot express their opinion on the on-going confusion over the Naga Peace Talk. Is it for this secrecy Prime Minister once called the signing the agreement historic? Or is it a deceit to all including ordinary Naga people?

AMSU, on the historic day of Hunger Marchers’ Day, reaffirms their views on the ongoing Naga Peace Talk. They express two negations to what is perceived by the people as things are leaked through media: first, any arrangement, political or administrative, in Manipur should not be on ethnic line.

There cannot be any council or body exclusively for one ethnic group that will bring disturbance to the unity of ethnic groups of Manipur. AMSU denies any appeasing policy to one group and compensation to other groups. The problem of Manipur should be dealt with holistically by considering the unique historical realities of the State.

While expressing the negation, AMSU opts for the Oneness of Manipur and wholesome of the problem faced by the State and its peoples. Second negation expressed is any step that will lower down the dignity and status of Manipur and its Legislative Assembly.

Any arrangement that will bypass the legitimate Assembly which was hard earned by the people with long series of agitations since its merger to Manipur in 1949 will not be acceptable to the people of Manipur.

AMSU will stand for Manipur with a dignity. Any arrangement such as formation of Supra-State Body or any council controlled directly by Centre in the name of conflict resolution is against the interest of Manipur and its Legislative Assembly. It is part of what is called Integrity of Manipur.

As AMSU is also interested in conflict resolution of the Naga conflict or otherwise, it wants to give some positive inputs towards it. However, it is helpless as anything is revealed about the hurdles and achievements out of the peace talk between NSCN (IM) which was established in 1980 out of the bloodbath after Shillong Accord.

The Peace Talk should start or take care of what had been achieved with Shillong Accord. As true lovers of Manipur and its neighbors, AMSU expresses its readiness to give suggestions, opinions or positive designs for a cordial solution of the ongoing conflict between Naga People and India.

The only handicap is that AMSU, any Indian for the matter, does not know the intent of both the parties in the ongoing negotiation. Any one in does not know why Prime Minister called Framework Agreement a historic one. Tell us what is achieved so far and what is the point of disagreement as of now, we may help in solving the problem.

AMSU wonders, as expressed by its President in his speech on Hunger Marchers’ Day, of indifferent attitude of Government of Manipur to ‘Naga National Flag.’ While observing Naga Independence Day on 14 August 2019, a few civil bodies used Naga Flag use of which is not yet finalized in the Naga Peace Talk.

The Flag was designed or proposed by NSCN (IM), which is still banned in the State of Manipur. Why did Government of Manipur allow hoisting on the soil of Manipur?

By asking the question AMSU shows the debate over the use of a separate flag of Nagalim and inaction of the State in this politically charged debate.

Government of India clearly shows its stand over the use of different flags in different States by deoperationalazing the Article 370 in Jammu and Kashmir. Then, why did Government of Manipur allow a separate flag, an invented symbol, for a group of peoples in Manipur? The use of a separate flag is a serious political issue; any one should not misjudge the move.

The voice of AMSU should be heard and discussed so that a new path of conflict resolution in the North East can be identified. The arrogant approach by assuming that NSCN (IM) is mother of all the insurgent groups in the region will not bring any fruit.

One should understand who is fathering the insurgency and from where the fuel comes without any bias. The solution should be for the brighter and stronger North East where all including Manipur will find a life with dignity. Over years AMSU showed that it could shape the course of current history of Manipur. The voice of the students should not be underestimated.

* Sh Ajit wrote this article for Imphal Times
The writer can be contacted at sanamatumsh(AT)gmail(DOT)com
This article was webcasted on August 31 2019.

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