TODAY -

Mounting apprehension : Significance of August
- The Sangai Express Editorial :: August 06 2018 -



Stormy days ahead. One hopes and prays that Manipur does not see a repeat of 2001 when the clause ‘ceasefire without territorial limits’ was inserted in the ceasefire pact between the Government of India and the NSCN (IM).

The June 14 Bangkok Declaration of 2001 and the bandh that followed to protest the extension of the cease fire to the soil of Manipur must still be fresh in the minds of quite a large number of people.

After three days of bandh, came the explosion on June 18, when people from all walks of life targeted offices of political parties, the State Assembly before it was moved to its present location and the CM’s official residence, which then housed the Advisors to the Governor as Manipur was under President’s Rule, the manner in which the then Assembly Speaker was paraded on the roads of Imphal and yes the blood soaked ground at the CM’s residence when CRPF personnel opened fire to control the mob which had broken into the official bungalow of the Chief Minister.

The curfew, the roads littered with broken shards of glass bottles, the road blocks put up everywhere, the days that media professionals had to camp at their respective offices as going back home in the dead of the night was just not advisable.

The question is, will things come full circle again ?

This poser has been raised in the backdrop of the talks doing the round that the final pact between the Government of India and the NSCN (IM) or groups representing the Naga people may be signed anytime soon.

And the apprehension is all that more given that there are diametrically opposing stands on the issue, as evidenced by the manner in which August 3, the day the Framework Agreement was signed in 2015, was observed at the Naga dominated hill districts and August 4, where AMUCO and UCM rang out the message that all legislators in Manipur should resign, if Article 371 (A) is imposed in the State when the final pact is signed.

August. A landmark month in so far as the peace negotiation between the Government of India and the NSCN (IM) is concerned.

It was on August 1, 1997 that the ceasefire pact was signed and it was on August 3, the same year that AMUCO organised the integrity rally, which is largely recognised as the biggest rally to have been staged in Manipur.

And again it was on August 3, 2015 that the Framework Agreement was signed between the Government of India and the NSCN (IM).

What has added to the sense of anxiety and apprehension is the manner in which the Framework Agreement has been kept under a veil of secrecy with no one really knowing what it contains.

Moreover the recent disclosure of Interlocutor to the peace talk, RN Ravi to the Joint Parliamentary Committee that Article 371 (A) may be accorded to Naga inhabited areas in the States bordering Nagaland has only given more room to suspect that some arrangements may be made where Manipur will effectively have a dual system of governance.

It is this which is unacceptable and behind the call of AMUCO and UCM to all legislators to resign if Article 371 (A) is imposed in certain areas of the State.

Interesting to note too that so far the finger has been pointed at New Delhi with no community being named in the stand of AMUCO and UCM.

Likewise the Naga CSOs too did not name any organisation or groups of people while appealing to the ‘neighbours’ to understand the position of the Nagas.

Here’s praying that this understanding stands in all times to come.



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