TODAY -

Naga Accord nearly final : Will it be acceptable to all ?
- The Sangai Express Editorial :: April 28 2018 -



Naga Accord nearly final. Final pact likely to be signed before Monsoon session of the Parliament.

Substantive portions of the Accord finalised.

If the report published in the Indian Express is anything to go by then the Naga issue may be settled within the next few months, that is probably before July-August.

No change in State boundary and instead the Accord may work out a model for Naga inhabited areas of Manipur and Arunachal Pradesh to have a degree of autonomy, bypassing the Governments of the two State.

So a climb down from the earlier Greater Lim demand of the NSCN (IM), wherein all Naga inhabited areas are to come under one administrative unit and a notch up from the status quo.

The crucial question is whether this will be acceptable to Manipur, particularly the Meiteis who have been at the forefront pledging by the integrity of the State.

And as things stand today, integrity is no longer just territorial integrity but administrative integrity too.

So how does New Delhi hope to strike a balance that will not hurt the interest of anyone ?

Tough to say how Manipur will respond, if and when the final deal is struck, but yet at the same time it needs to be kept in mind too that something has to be given to the NSCN (IM) or else the more than 20 years peace process would have been in vain.

This is where Delhi may be seen to have drawn up a card aimed at pleasing the Meiteis via the likely law that prevents the sale of land in the valley area to others.

Now who will come under the tag of others is something which have not been spelt out clearly and hence the question whether others mean only the non-locals or the non-Meiteis, meaning the hill people of Manipur.

Territory intact but a system where there will be a sort of a double administrative set up, one for the Naga inhabited areas and the other for the rest of the State.

Will such a model be acceptable to all is the million dollar question now.

As stated above, what however is clear is that something has to be given to the Nagas who the NSCN (IM) claim to represent and if autonomy is that something, will it be acceptable to all ?

Equally important too, will such a model be acceptable to the Naga CSOs of Manipur which have been backing the claim of Naga integration ever since the peace process started ?

Not that such a model has come as something totally unexpected.

With the BJP having made it clear on more than one occasion that the territorial integrity of the neighbouring States will not be compromised, the Congress had made it clear that any model that contains the seeds of disintegration will not be acceptable.

The question is, will it stop at autonomy or should this arrangement be taken to mean as the first stepping stone towards integration ?

This is a question which the BJP led Government at Imphal too should seek to answer satisfactorily.

Moreover it also remains that the State BJP Government need to ask New Delhi why only two States will be affected via the autonomy model while Assam has been left out.

Territorial integrity intact but two systems of governance in a single State.

Will this be acceptable or not is a question which time can only tell.



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