TODAY -

Ghost of 2001 not yet exorcised : The Lim divide still stands
- The Sangai Express Editorial :: June 04 2019 -



22 years. It has spawned not only years, but has also taken lives and disturbingly driven a wedge between the Nagas of Manipur and those who stand by the idea of Manipur as a distinct geo-political reality.

22 years is a long time.

1997 to 2019 and the story of the ceasefire pact between the NSCN (IM) and the Government of India will be incomplete without a reference to the June 18, 2001 people's uprising,
the days of tension,
the decision of the then State Government to ban the proposed entry of Thuingaleng Muivah to his ancestral place at Somdal village in Ukhrul district,
the Senapati stand off that led to the death of two students after the State Government refused the entry of Th Muivah,
the Naga People's Convention that followed and the decision to snap all ties with the Government of Manipur,
the days of economic blockades starting from the 52 days blockade imposed by the All Naga Students' Association, Manipur back in 2005,
the 'communal Government of Manipur' tag given to the State Government.

These and many more unwanted developments in Manipur will tell the story of the peace process between the NSCN (IM) and the Government of India from 1997 to 2019.

It was amid this air of hostility between the State Government and the Naga civil society organisations of Manipur, that the BJP led Government signed the Framework Agreement on August 3, 2015.

What has made the Framework Agreement all that more apprehensive to the people of Manipur is the highly 'classified information' nature in which the contents of the pact have been kept all these years.

Now with the BJP back in power after a stupendous showing in the just held Lok Sabha elections, it is but natural to expect New Delhi to come back with more vigour to chalk out the final agreement.

The only question is whether the BJP led Government will take the needed caution to ensure that the final pact does not end up hurting the political and social stand of any of the stakeholders.

Manipur is not part of the ongoing dialogue but the demand put forth with so much vigour by the NSCN (IM) and its frontal organisations has ensured that Manipur cannot remain indifferent to it.

What is interesting to note is the point that the ghost of the 2001 uprising does not seem to have been exorcised completely and this can be discerned from the recent demand made by the CSOs of Manipur and NEIDP that the Centre should spell out the geographical coverage of the ceasefire agreement.

The response from the UNC that such a query on a highly sensitive political issue should not be raised at this juncture will only go on to add that much more apprehension in the minds of the people.

In many ways the opposition to the ceasefire in Manipur stems from the fact that extending the ceasefire to the State would mean acknowledging the demand of the NSCN (IM) for a Greater Lim and this is something that has been opposed tooth and nail.

From 1997 to 2019 and it says something significant that the 2001 ghost of the ceasefire agreement is yet to be exorcised fully.



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