TODAY -

Nagas of Nagaland and Nagas of Manipur: For the 3rd day on the trot
- The Sangai Express Editorial :: October 23 2019 -



This is the third day on the trot that The Sangai Express has deemed it necessary to comment on the peace process between the NSCN (IM) and the Government and the one between the Centre and the NNPGs, consisting of seven armed outfits.

The more one looks at it, the more interesting it gets.

Here on one hand is the Interlocutor to the peace talk and Governor of Nagaland RN Ravi going ahead and stating that the final pact may be signed sans the NSCN (IM).

Before the bomb shell from Ravi came, the NNPGs had gone on record to state that the Nagas of Nagaland have no issue with the question of a separate flag and a separate Constitution.

Clearly embedded in this assertion is the point that the Nagas of Nagaland and the Nagas of Manipur have separate aspirations or rather, in one swift comment, the NNPGs identified the NSCN (IM) as a group largely representing the interests of the Nagas of Manipur.

A clear statement that there are divides that run between the Nagas of Nagaland and the Nagas of Manipur and in as much as the votaries of a Greater Lim may negate this, the fact stands that the Nagas of Manipur have always had a greater relationship with the Meiteis of Manipur.

A look at the relationship, the history, language spoken, marital ties will all underline this point and this is something which cannot be waved away.

This is also perhaps the opportune moment for the Meiteis to reach out to the Nagas of Manipur and see how to bridge the deep divide that had pushed the people into antagonistic positions.

Despite the diametrically opposing stands that either sides have been taking all these years, all will agree that the Meiteis and the Nagas of Manipur are indigenous folks of this place and it is them who should work together for the betterment of everyone.

It is also interesting to see the NNPGs holding fort on the need to realise the political realities of the day.

Given the fact that it is ready to sign the final pact, sans a separate flag and Constitution, it may then be taken to mean that sticking to these two points at the moment would be akin to not knowing the political realities.

This is what is disturbing to note for remember that the NNPGs came on board the negotiation table only in 2017 while it has been the NSCN (IM) which has been engaged in a political negotiation with the Government of India since 1997.

As noted in an earlier commentary, there are still some days before the final word is said and sealed and another crucial meeting between the NSCN (IM) and the Government of India has been lined up on October 24.

Much will depend on this round of talk, which may perhaps be the final one, before the final agreement is inked and this is why all eyes will be on the October 24 scheduled meeting.

On the other hand five major CSOs of Manipur have joined hands under a common banner to stand by the understanding and integrity of Manipur as a distinct social and political entity and even as this stand is taken, it would help if efforts are taken to reach out to the Naga civil societies of Manipur and see if works on bridging the differences may be taken up now.

The iron is hot and it is best that the blow is struck now.



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