TODAY -

Rising to the occasion

Yambem Laba *

Manipur district map
Manipur district map :: Pix - TSE



Chief minister Okram Ibobi Singh has literally pulled the rug from under the feet of the Manipur-based United Naga Council. UNC has imposed an economic blockade of two national highways from 1 November as a mark of protest over the proposal to create the Kuki-dominated Sadar Hills out of Senapati district — a stronghold of the National Socialist Council of Nagaland (Isak-Muivah) and the UNC.

On the night of 8 December, Singh, however, announced the creation of seven new districts including Sadar Hills, which has been renamed Kangpokpi district. The others were Kamjong in Ukhrul, Tengnoupal (Chandel), Noney (Tamenglong), Pherzawl (Churachandpur) and Kakching in Thoubal Districts and Jiribam from Imphal East. The names of the deputy commissioners and superintendents of police of the new districts were also announced.

With this single master-stroke, Singh has been able to silence the voices of dissent emanating from the Nagas of Ukhrul, Chandel and Tamenglong while also appeasing the Meiteis of Kakching and Jiribam. While Jiribam had been vocal and active over the conversion of their area as a district, not much was heard over the creation of Tengnoupal, Noney, Pherzawl and Kamjong although occasional press notes have been making their appearance once in a while.

Now the UNC finds itself in a catch-22 situation with its president Gaidon Kamei and information secretary S K Stephen already in custody after being arrested by Tadubi police on a separate set of charges relating to crimes committed during the ongoing economic blockade.

The Manipur High Court had earlier come down heavily on the state government for not doing enough to break the blockade and decreed that adequate security forces be used to enable the passage of hundreds of goods-laden trucks stranded at the Nagaland-Manipur border and at Jiribam on the Assam border.

Singh rose to the occasion and first directed the district magistrate of Senapati district to impose prohibitory orders and a curfew along NH 39. Then he mobilised all the forces at his disposal and sent them to Mao, equipped with two excavators to remove obstacles and two ambulance vans with doctors, paramedic staff and medicines.

Earlier, the chief minister had written to Union home minister, Rajnath Singh stating that the UNC is the frontal organisation of the NSCN (I-M) that is holding talks with the Centre, and therefore it should intervene and give necessary directives to call off the blockade. The Centre’s response was ambiguous.

But for the Nagas, the blockade has been an annual feature and this apparently is the season. This time Singh had initially avoided confronting the Nagas along NH 39, choosing the Imphal-Jiribam via Silchar route instead. But the UNC activists had taken excavators and dug up the road to prevent that but Singh sent yet another team to Jiribam and escorted several trucks to Imphal.

When asked, UNC chief Kamei told the media that he would consult his people first before taking a decision on whether or not to call off the blockade. He was also served with a 72-hour deadline by the United Committee Manipur, the other apex body, comprising mostly Meiteis of the valley. The All Manipur Christian Organisation also requested the UNC to call off the blockade keeping in mind the fact that people were suffering and Christmas festivities were round the corner.

The Nagas have often used the national highways that pass through their areas to highlight their demands and grievances, thereby causing a scarcity of essential items in the Imphal valley. In the meantime queues for petrol and before ATMs are lengthening, although prices of essential goods have come down in the grey market with petrol now selling at Rs 150 a litre.

Singh’s master-stroke may ensure the re-election of Congress legislators in the assembly elections due early next year. If the NSCN (I-M) opposes the bifurcation of Chandel and Tamenglong districts, they are bound to lose the support of the people there, and if they welcome it, they would be praising their sworn enemy, Singh.

Silence would be golden for both the NSCN (I-M) and the UNC at the moment. For Singh, it was perfect timing — he must have waited for people to feel the brunt of the blockade first and then offer a panacea, both in terms of a show of strength and political decisiveness.

In this scenario, the valley population has all but forgotten the burning issue of the Inner Line Permit system that had paralysed the state administration for months. And agitators in Churachandpur are also quiet for the time being with nine bodies still lying in the morgue — they were killed in last year’s clashes over three bills the state assembly had passed. And so, for Singh and company, the blockade and Narendra Modi’s demonetisation have come as godsends.

On the other hand, the Joint Naga Civil Societies in Delhi issued an ultimatum to the state government to roll back the creation of the new districts by stating that Tengnoupal will become another Kuki district and that the Meiteis will start encroaching upon Kamjong. In a near xenophobic stand, the Delhi Nagas asked the Centre to impose President’s Rule in Manipur and roll back the decision.

The NSCN (I-M) has also retracted from Hebron stating that the move to create the new districts will jeopardise the ongoing peace talks with the Government of India, which is now in its 19th year. In a press statement issued on 12 December, the NSCN (I-M) has questioned the sincerity of the Centre by saying that it is in cahoots with the Government of Manipur. It also said that it stood by the UNC on the indefinite economic blockade.

It took a pot-shot at Singh by saying said that they have taken a serious note of his attempts to communalise the vote banks of the Nagas on one side, and Meiteis and Kukis on the other. And, finally, it said that the seven new districts are not acceptable to the Naga people. All of Singh’s decisions run in opposition to their ethnic cleansing pogrom, which the NSCN (I-M) had initiated around 1992 — it killed more than 1,000 Kukis in an attempt to clear grounds for a greater Nagalim.

The Union home minister said in a statement that “the Centre was fully committed to the maintenance of law and order and that it considers blockades anywhere in India as a gross violation of law and a crime against humanity”. That said, the BJP’s central leadership has almost dug its own grave in the forthcoming polls in Manipur.

This happened when Union human resource development minister Prakash Jadavekar, who is in charge of the forthcoming elections, told a public meeting on 11 December that with the creation of seven new districts, the state government is following a divide-and-rule policy.

This is exactly what the UNC/NSCN (I-M) and other Naga groups have been saying and Jadavekar suddenly appeared as their main spokesman from New Delhi. This has not been taken too kindly by the valley people and that will be reflected in the polls next year.

Yambem Laba (Courtesy: The Statesman)


* This article was published at The Sangai Express
The writer is the Imphal-based special correspondent of The Statesman
This article was posted on December 22, 2016.


* Comments posted by users in this discussion thread and other parts of this site are opinions of the individuals posting them (whose user ID is displayed alongside) and not the views of e-pao.net. We strongly recommend that users exercise responsibility, sensitivity and caution over language while writing your opinions which will be seen and read by other users. Please read a complete Guideline on using comments on this website.




LATEST IN E-PAO.NET
  • Nungbi Khullen, Ukhrul #2 :: Gallery
  • Protest in Kangpokpi District :: Gallery
  • Cirrhosis: Basics & laboratory diagnosis
  • Impact of television in rural development
  • The Echoing Hills :: Poem
  • Inner Line Permit (ILP) Demand : Timeline
  • Nagaland CM respond to Dr. SL's bureau
  • Unauthorized CEC meeting
  • Student leaders detained for mobilizing ILPS
  • Earning our keeps
  • Meira Rally on Patriots' Day #2 :: Gallery
  • ... All The Flowers Gone? #2 :: Gallery
  • Shri Shri Govindaji Temple #1 :: 360 ° View
  • My Japanlan memoir after 4 score yrs
  • Traffic jam and 13th August
  • Manipur District Demand :: Articles / Photos
  • The Law is Mightier Than The Pen
  • Let the law decide
  • ...health insurance scheme for scribes
  • Absurd 1 Village, 1 Denomination decree
  • Singcha Wuya Won (flower) #3:: Gallery
  • Sunday Cup Football @Lamshang :: Gallery
  • Gurmayum Robert wins gold at World Event
  • Loktak Project & corporate unaccountability
  • Supremacy Of The Party :: NPF
  • Binding the wound: The district row
  • Admission Notice - AiTC, Imphal
  • 'Sexuality & Internet' at Digital Summit
  • Zeliang welcomed support from NPF Minority
  • NSU site and undue communal overtones
  • Tripartite Talk: GOI/GOM/UNC :: Gallery
  • Governor's Cup Fencing :: Gallery
  • 13 Aug @Kangla & BT Park :: Gallery
  • Bruce Dickinson: "son-rise" of Iron Maiden
  • Biren should learn from Mamata Banerjee
  • The globe is in your fist
  • AR I-Day festivities with Myanmar army
  • AR celebrates 71st Independence day
  • Unconstitutionality of TR Government
  • Stadium upgrade for I-League
  • NE film festival in Delhi from Aug 18
  • Myanmarese advised to follow traffic rules
  • The human torch and AFSPA
  • The real taste of Independence Day
  • Mission XI football @ Andro :: Gallery
  • Krishna Janma @ Mahabali :: Gallery
  • Blood Donation for 13 August:: Gallery
  • Mahabali Temple , Imphal :: 360 ° View
  • Graphic & plastic arts of Zeliangrong #3
  • Silence :: Poem
  • Sport Univ: Promises kept but corruption?
  • Job requirements at SKY Hospital
  • Jobs @ National Informatics Centre (NIC)
  • I-Day Celebration at BJP State Office
  • Celebrations amid militant boycott call
  • 3 Manipur terrorists arrested in Delhi
  • NSCN/GPRN condemns raid
  • NSCN-K signing hinges on cross-border..
  • Meira Rally on Patriots' Day #1 :: Gallery
  • Patriots' Day @ Kolkata :: Gallery
  • 26th NAMA Convention Report, Houston, TX
  • Forming Plurals in Manipuri Language
  • Mammography and frequently ask question
  • Indo-Naga Talks 2017 :: News Timeline
  • NPF Office Bearers reaffirm support
  • DAN Co-ordination Meeting Resolutions
  • India and China: From rivalry to enmity
  • For better tomorrows
  • Security forces round up NSCN (IM) cadres
  • 13 August @Hicham Yaichampat :: Gallery
  • Achingliu, Haokhulan, Hiyaichenbi: eMing
  • Patriots' Day @ Hojai, Assam :: Gallery
  • Protest: malpractices of MPSC :: Gallery
  • On MPSC scam & people defending it
  • 126th Patriots' Day observed in Delhi
  • 126th Patriots' Day observed in Hojai
  • Lajong U-12 to represent India in BRICS
  • Learn something from 2015 experience
  • The district creation headache
  • State Thang-Ta Competition :: Gallery
  • Search operation [Aug 12] :: Gallery
  • 13 August Patriots' Day : Read all about it
  • Thangal General : The Patriot
  • Proxy examination and Wrong politics
  • Women should not live in fear ....
  • Summer Thoughts :: Poem
  • NPF Youth serve Ultimatum to Rio
  • A slap on the face of Christianity
  • U-Morok @ Shirarakhong :: Gallery
  • Dangers of 'Trial by Media' & the MPSC
  • Is Culture of insensible activism taking root
  • Meiteilon never been Tibeto-Burman
  • Mechanized threshing of foodgrains #2
  • ZSUB Foundation Day, Fresher's Meeting
  • Sadar Hills District Demand: News Timeline
  • Breaking the barrier
  • Natural Body Building #3 :: Gallery
  • National Handloom Day @ GHY :: Gallery
  • Chirom Indira shine in hearts of NE Weavers
  • Investigate killings as ordered by SC
  • MSTC CMD met with CM of Manipur
  • Conspiracy behind the toppling game
  • Armed groups attack..a human right abuse
  • Drawing Competition at Khengjoi, Chandel
  • Save the indigenous people cry : Valley..
  • A matter need to ponder
  • Earthen wares of Ningthemcha Karong
  • Indigenous Wrestling @ SPT #2 :: Gallery
  • Awunching Biodiversity Park #3 :: 360 ° View
  • XXVIII State Thang-Ta Competition 2017
  • India's HLPF review of SDGs & Manipur
  • Robotics as career options
  • International Day of Indigenous People
  • Rejoinder Issued By Shurhozelie Liezietsu
  • Hard facts of political crisis (Nagaland)
  • Viewing through one's community
  • Darkening shadows of doubt
  • Ziumi village, Maram Landscape:: Gallery
  • Inter School Handball Tournament :: Gallery
  • The Proud Bamboo Tree :: Folk Tale
  • Populated Attitudes :: Poem
  • Marijuana, Mahadev and Maneka
  • Notice for MSc Biochemistry Admissions
  • The Killing Fields :: News Timeline
  • Assam edition of NE India Fashion Week
  • Being different from Cong Govt
  • Cracking down on fraudulence
  • Hanuba-hanubi paan thaba :: Funga Wari
  • ... All The Flowers Gone? #1 :: Gallery
  • Need to bust racket running inside MPSC
  • Will PM Modi betray Assam in No ST, no rest
  • State Level Essay Writing Competition
  • RIST Condolence Function at MU
  • When we stumble and fall
  • Customer Care Executive @ basicP, Imphal
  • Petition for Disqualification of 10 MLAs
  • Cracking down on fraudulence
  • Rape of small newspaper
  • Landscape of Ukhrul District #2:: Gallery
  • Jhulon Nupi Pala Phamsak :: Gallery
  • TR is CM by technicality sans Legality
  • One Day in Heaven :: Poem
  • Libraries Vs Google: Are we heading there
  • ..for electrical distribution rearrangement
  • Lessons to learn from CCpur: public hygiene
  • Angaoba Film Scenes #1 :: eRang
  • Eyek Tamba :: Learn Manipuri script
  • The dawn of cricket in Manipur
  • Lumbini Leikolda Shat-houba Leirang
  • Workshop on MU Reservations held
  • Job posting at C-DAC Silchar
  • Lafikul murdered to stir communal tension
  • Wayward rules of law
  • Indigenous Wrestling @ SPT #1 :: Gallery
  • Tourist Watch Tower, Khongjom #4 :: 360 °
  • Admission for B.Ed at Manipur University
  • The Evening Blues :: Poem
  • A village called Nbena :: Book Review
  • Employment Generating Hands on Skill
  • Unnatural death of Sainik School student
  • Condemns killing of KNO/KNLF leader
  • AR conducts Pre Recruitment Training
  • Makeshift sheds at Lamphel
  • For a clean future generation
  • Mr Maipak Body Building #2:: Gallery
  • CM referring to ST Comm is ultra vires
  • VIP culture out, VVVIP culture in
  • Be an unchained raindrop :: Poem
  • Holistic education : Trends & challenges
  • Jobs - Going Officers Pamjei
  • Providing Various Health Benefit Plans
  • larification to Tokheho's recollections
  • SoO groups in the news for wrong reasons
  • Confession
  • Nongbrang, bank of Thoubal River :: Gallery
  • Pukpha Fest @Tamenglong :: Gallery
  • Binalakshmi Nepram at UN, NYC : 1 Aug
  • Free Computer Course by KEN @ Imphal
  • Where is the justice in mob justice
  • Ishu : Feature Film in Assamese :: Review
  • Flood: State efforts are too little too late
  • Crisis within NPF unfortunate : KG Kenye
  • decision-making body of NPF resolve: 2 Aug
  • NPF Legislature Party Statement : 2 Aug
  • ..honoring martyrs by raising Tri-colour
  • ..strong Opposition: Cong MLA striving hard
  • Battle Of Khongjom & Manipuris in 1891 #3
  • Khongjom War Memorial #2 :: 360 ° View
  • Oops! They've Done It Again!
  • Photography: Career through lenses
  • Mega Marathon Manipur : Download Form
  • Chemical Ecology: Info for college/Univs
  • Jobs - Nursing Aides in Singapore
  • NPF responds to MLAs' demand
  • Overlooking one's own Cabinet decision
  • Potential of our state
  • Drinking joints in a dry State : Liquor tragedy
  • Landscape of Manipur #7: Wallpaper
  • Singcha Wayawon opening #2:: Gallery
  • Manung Kangjeibung, Kangla :: 360 ° View
  • 1st Mao Market day @Nagamapal:: Gallery
  • ILP : Students protest [27 July] :: Gallery
  • Shwedagon Pagoda in Yangon #2 :: Gallery
  • Ethoi Oinam (Actress) #2 :: eRang Photos
  • Echum Lairembi, Khurkhul #3:: Gallery
  • Tapta :: Funga Wari
  • Featured Photo for 2017 #3 :: Gallery
  • Lai Khong Chingba @Thangjing #4
  • Manipur Sangai Festival 2016 #5 : Ooba
  • SPONSORED ADS