TODAY -

Framework Agreement II : Last lap with formation of Pan-Naga Council, time for our hill and valley brethren to unite and fight together

Dr Th Suresh Singh *



Ho Iril turel...chingi heinam...pamyallibi magi...nungsi wari...tamna cellakpabu...kari...

It is now certain that the Framework Agreement between the Nagas and Govt. of India is in its final lap and with each side set for a timeline, December seems to be the last line. It is also certain that a satellite territorial area council (or Regional Territorial Council (RTC) under Tartar Hoho will also be formed consisting of Nagaland, Arunachal Pradesh and Manipur. Assam has been left out from this.

Why this ? I have no clue. This proposed Council will be funded directly by the centre. Many reliable sources have pointed out to the agreement for the formation of the said council. I will, however mention only 2 recent important sources published by Sangai Express (English Ed.).

The 1st reliable source was Scroll In where it is quoted -”Naga areas in the hills of Manipur and Arunachal Pradesh are likely to be converted into satellite territorial area councils – governed by the Tartar Hoho, and funded directly by the centre. Assam, where three people died in 2018 in protest against territory being ceded to Nagas, has so far been kept out of the arrangement”

The second was the Nagaland Post interview of Mr. Kitovi Zhimomi published on October 7. Kitovi is not only the convenor of the powerful Naga National Political Groups (NNPGs), but also Kilonser of GPRN/NSCN. Hence, he is a powerful man and has to be believed by all specially, we Manipuris.

In that said interview, Kitovi has stated that “ NNPGs in principle, have come into agreement with the Government of India to create separate Regional Territorial Council(RTC) of Manipur and Arunachal Pradesh which would not be applicable to Assam at this point of time”.

It is also a fact that, there is at present disunity among the Nagas with Muivah and co. insisting on a separate constitution and a flag for the Nagas, while others are satisfied by the formation of the Territorial Council referred to above. With the abolition of special status of Kashmir under Article 370 by PM Modi in August, Muivah’s dream is becoming pale and pale day by day.

My personal view is that a separate constitution and a flag for the Nagas will never be fulfilled by Modi Govt. What then? Crystallisation will be struck to the formation of the Council stated above. Whether a separate constitution and flag is granted or not, Manipur is losing on both counts.

2. Threat to Manipur : The UCM in its meeting with many civil societies and political leaders (including BJP & Congress) on 1st October last year adopted 3 resolutions. In that, it categorically stated against the formation of such pan-Naga council of any form (financial or ethnical) besides non-touching on present Manipur territorial integrity.

The resolution further warned GOI that anything included in the final agreement without the approval of state Govt. and people of Manipur will be met with dire consequences and the people of Manipur shall determine the future of Manipur.

All political parties had also expressed similar views from time to time in meetings with PM, Home Minister and other central leaders. Our civil societies (AMUCO &UCM included) also expressed similar views from time to time to who is who at New Delhi.

3. Why then this Pan-Naga Council : In spite of that, Ravi (the interlocuter) seems to have agreed to the formation of the above discussed pan-Naga council and communicated to NSCN (IM) and other Naga bodies. He and the centre did so in exchange of geographical status quo of Manipur and neibouring states.

Rabi seems to be the main culprit. He just does not care what the people of Manipur think and care about. He has to pay the price if he advised Modi wrongly. There is also the possibility of weak communication between the centre and our political party leaders.

The centre might have thought that Manipur would remain silent if their territorial integrity is preserved. There is also a query on how Assam was deleted from the peach talk and why Manipur is to be punished in spite of strong objections?

4. What will we do then ? Time is running out. In my various articles, I have pointed out that Manipuris are bad negotiators. Because of this, we lost Kabaw Valley, we lost internal autonomy. Are we going to lose again something which will lead to bloodshed?

The following treatment lines are suggested ones :
a) Biren & co should immediately rush to Delhi and say that Manipur be kept as it is and any change, if any, be in consultation with state assembly and its people as per UCM resolution cited above.

b) Our civil societies should form a team and proceed to Delhi, meet PM, HM & others and remind them the various memos submitted earlier, the sooner the better. We should not leave such an important topic to the politicians only.

c) While doing do, it be told of our distinct Archaeological and historical configuration since about 40,000 yr BC i.e. we have our own kingdoms/principalities since 2500-3000 BC and had no connection with Nagaland (details in my 1st article). It is also be told that Manipur was forced to merge to Indian Dominion on 15/10/1949 and no further injustice be done to Manipur.

d) It further be told that certain protections be accorded under Article 370 during this Naga parley so as not to encroach in future to the very existence of Manipur in any form.

5. Give and take: And lastly, certain solutions have to be put forward as we can’t have denials and denials on whatever someone’s demand. Ravi and Delhi are now caught in a vicious cycle, it will be very difficult for them to free from the pan-Naga council.

A way has to be found out. If Ravi meets me or seeks my opinion, I can easily save him.

That is - the points I put forward in my previous articles as placed below:
i) Channelization of fund for whatever parameters the 2 sides agree through our already existed N-E Council.
ii) In the alternative, through the already existed The Manipur (Hill Areas) District Council Act, 1971 or, a newly created Sixth Schedule.

Manipuris should not fear about the mention of Sixth Schedule. What is important is the contents to be incorporated there, and here we can put forward our points during negotiations. However, the existing District Council is a better option, less time consuming and less controversial. While implementing i) & ii) above, it has to be clearly told that the same is to be implemented not only for the Nagas, but for the entire Manipur. For the valley, it be done through the Panchayats at least up to the SDC level.

Time for the centre to think twice and time for our hill and valley brethren to unite and fight together to avoid a burning like the great June 18 uprising of 2001.


* Dr Th Suresh Singh wrote this article for The Sangai Express
The writer is Ex-Director, Health & WHO Fellow
This article was webcasted on October 23, 2019.



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