TODAY -

Solution must not be undone by dissolution
- The Sangai Express Editorial :: November 23 2020 -



By Naga integration, NSCN-IM and their supporters do not mean socio-cultural integration of Naga people alone but also integration of Naga inhabited areas by redrawing the political boundaries of the Northeastern States and if possible, the international boundary with Myanmar.

In fact, the crux of the negotiation between New Delhi and NSCN-IM has been integration of all Naga inhabited areas under a special arrangement within the constitution of India by which the so-called Naga inhabited areas would be detached from the present States of Manipur, Assam and Arunachal Pradesh to form a greater Nagaland.

It has been in records NSCN-IM General Secretary Thuingaleng Muivah repeatedly asserted that no solution is possible without Naga integration.

Only Prime Minister Narendra Modi and perhaps Union Home Minister Amit Shah can answer how far the Government of India would accede to this irredentist demand.

Quite interestingly, Amit Shah would be visiting Imphal within the current month, most probably on the 29th, and the United Naga Council or UNC in short is shrewd enough not to waste this opportunity.

They have made it clear they would seek an appointment with the man from New Delhi.

Even a casual observer can say with a fair degree of certainty there is perfect synergy between NSCN-IM and UNC as far as the demand for Naga integration goes.

Media reports say that Amit Shah is visiting Manipur to hold a meeting with the Government of Manipur on the possible shape and structure of the final Naga solution which is being speculated to be sealed soon.

If this is the case, UNC has all the rights to highlight their views and articulate their arguments in front of the Union Home Minister.

We are of the view that Amit Shah should meet not only the State Government and the UNC but all stakeholders.

But no one should distort history or conceal facts to anybody's advantage.

At the same time, the Union Home Minister must not overlook the fact that there is a counter-narrative to the demand for Naga integration.

Before the idea of integration of Naga inhabited areas of Manipur with the present State of Nagaland is given a thought, New Delhi needs to have a comprehensive understanding of Manipur and its long history.

The modern political history of Manipur underwent drastic changes twice.

First, it was the Anglo-Manipur war of 1891 which brought Manipur under British occupation.

The second one was the Merger Agreement of 1949 which brought Manipur within the Indian Union.

Even though these two historical events brought about drastic changes to the geo-political and socioeconomic landscape of Manipur, Manipur did survive as a geo-political entity.

But people now fear that a final solution to the Naga issue may further shift the course of Manipur's history to such a degree that Manipur ceases to exist as a geo-political entity.

New Delhi must have a comprehensive understanding of the historical facts and the contemporary political realities of Manipur before signing any solution to the protracted political dialogue.

People's deep rooted fear and pervasive apprehension can be understood only by those who have a comprehensive understanding of Manipur, its history and political realities and we hope, the Prime Minister is one among them.

Everybody who cherishes the idea of united Manipur hailed the Prime Minister when he assured that there would be no one-sided solution.

At the same time. New Delhi must take into account the historical circumstances under which Manipur was merged into the Indian Union while working out a solution to the Naga issue.

The State Assembly's resolution that the Article 3 of the Indian Constitution should be amended by inserting a provision/clause that prior consent of the State legislatures of the affected State(s) shall be mandatory while forming new States, alteration of areas, boundaries or names of existing States was driven by a strong collective spirit and it was based on a very solid historical premise.

If it is time for solution, no space must be given for dissolution (of Manipur),



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