Agenda of the BJP led Government in Manipur
- Part 2 -

Dr. Khomdon Lisam *

11th Manipur Legislative Assembly Elcetion -2017 and Indefinite Economic Blockade

The 11 Manipur Legislative Assembly election was held in the wake of an indefinite economic blockade along the two lifelines of Manipur- National Highway no.-2 (Imphal-Dimapur Road) and National Highway no.-37 (Imphal-Jiribam Road) imposed by the United Naga Council (UNC) since 1 November, 2016 putting the people of Manipur on the boil and crippled all traffic and business activities for months together putting the poorest of the poor on the brink of starvation.

The main reason for the indefinite economic blockade of the UNC is to prevent creation of Sadar Hill district and Jiribam district which have got a number of Naga villages and significant population of Nagas. The UNC thinks that this will facilitate integration of Naga inhabited villages into Nagaland as a part of the Naga Peace Agreement/Framework Agreement.

The UNC is a frontal organisation of NSCN –IM (established on 30 April 1988,), the dominant insurgent group of Nagaland having ceasefire agreement and Peace Talk with the Government of India since 1 August 1997. But the cease fire of NSCN -IM is not extended to Manipur as a result of mass uprising with the death of 18 martyrs on 18 June, 2001.

One of the key demands of NSCN-IM in the Peace Talk is the integration / unification of Naga-inhabited areas of Manipur with Nagaland destroying the 2000 year old history of Manipur, the territorial integrity and administrative integrity of Manipur. The integration of Naga means disintegration of Manipur.

Unfortunately the question of integration of Administrative System of Naga-inhabited areas of Manipur into that of Nagaland is not mentioned in the Election Manifesto of the Indian Natinal Congress, Manipur and Vision Document of the Manipur BJP although the "protection of territorial integrity " is mentioned in both documents. This shows lack of seriousness, ignorance, insensitivity of the political leaders to the issues of Naga Peace Agreement .

Demand of the Naga People Front(NPF)

According to the Constitution of the Naga People Front (NPF) , fourth amendment October,2002 –Article- II 2. "The aims and objects of the Party are (C ) to work for unity and integrity of the people by integrating all contaguous Naga inhabited areas under one administrative roof and also to provide protection to all the ethnic groups who are indigenous inhabitants of the State. The support of the four NPF MLAs is crucial to the BJP, which claims a strength of 32 in the 60-member House.

On 13 March, 2017, Awangbung Newmai, Preident of the Manipur Unit NPF said: "As per resolutions of the 13 March meeting of the Manipur Unit of the NPF, its four MLAs should be inducted in the council of ministers."

On 14 March, 2017, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has agreed to grant the entire demand of the NPF -(1) Losii Dikho from Mao Assembly Constituency in Senapati district was given the cabinet berth while three NPF MLAs namely (2) Awangbow Newmai from Tamei Assembly Constituency was given Parliamentary Secretary of Hills and Tribal Development, Minor Irrigation and Works. (3) Khashim Vashum, from Chingai Assembly Constituency was given Parliamentary Secretary for Planning, PHED while (4) K. Leishiyo from Phungyar Assembly Constituency was given Parliamentary Secretary for IFCD, Rural Development. The fulfilment of demand of the NPF comes with great sacrifices of the BJP.

On 12 April, 2017, Paul Muinao, Working President of the Manipur State Unit of the NPF stated that the circumstances under which the NPF join the BJP led Coalition Government was on the assurance of the BJP that the Naga issues will be consulted with all the stakeholders before a final solution is inked.

On 13 April, 2017, N Kayisii, , Minister of Tribal Development & Hills and Fisheries said "unless there is equal distribution, respect and concern for one another, there will not be true development and peaceful co-existence in the society today." The Minister assured that "his departments together with the Government will try their best to bring about a just and positive change in the State. He strongly appealed to the masses not to promote any form of prejudice and communal feelings at any cost ."

Immediatey after swearing in, Chief Minister, Shri Nongthombam Biren Singh said that ending UNC-sponsored economic blockade, resolving Churachand-pur issue and revamping NH-37 were the three tasks which he had decided to do first.

Urgent Actions taken up by Shri N. Biren Singh Government

Here I am placing some of the urgent actions taken up by Shri N. Biren Singh Government since 15 March, 2017 till date.

1. Lifting of the 139 days old indefinite economic blockade imposed by the United Naga Council (UNC) since 1 November, 2016 and opening of National Hghways. In the first Tripartite talk, on 19 March, 2017, the Manipur Government recognised the "grievances of UNC that led to the imposition of economic blockade and the non-adherence to the four Memorandum of Understandings (MoUs). In that talk "the Manipur Government has agreed to start consultation with all stakeholders to redress the same".

Following this, the UNC lifted the four and a half months old economic blockade on the National Highways linking Manipur from the midnight of 19 March 2017. In the last Tripartite talk on 19 March at Senapati it was agreed upon that the "next round of Tripartite talks will be resumed within a month's time at political level".

According to sources, an 11-member UNC team was led by its president Gaidon Kamei while Satyendra Garg, Joint Secretary, Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA), in charge of North East led the Government of India team. The State Government team was led by Chief Secretary O Nabakishore.

Additional Chief Secretary (Home) Dr J Suresh Babu and Commissioner (Works) K Radhakumar. The one month's time had lapsed on 19 April, 2017.

In the second the Tripartite talk 19 May, 2017, UNC president, Gaidon Kamei reiterated that the position from their side is clear on the issue. He said that "whatever may be the reason there is no question of compromising our stand and position".

During the talks, four points were agreed upon, (1) The focal point No.1 of the agreement arrived at to the Tripartite talks on 19th March 2017 was re-affirmed by both parties, (2) It was also agreed that the Government of Manipur would be represented at the political level in the next round of talks,

(3) Till such time as an amicable settlement to the issue of creation of the new districts is not arrived at, the Government of Manipur and the United Naga Council will mutually respect the points agreed upon in the Tripartite talks held on 19th March 2017. And lastly (4) the next round of talks will be held in Senapati within a month's time.

Dr. Suresh Babu said that they participated in the talk to identify the core issues so that it can be discussed in next round of talks.

During the Tripartite Talk on 19 May, 2017, Gaidon Kamei reaffirmed that UNC will stick to its stand for revocation of the newly created seven new districts in the State. He, however, informed the media that they are trying to find out a logical conclusion.

On 1 July, 2010 the Naga People's Convention, during its meeting at Senapati decided to sever all political ties with the Manipur State Government. On 18 May 2017, the Presidential Council meeting of the United NPC Naga Council (UNC) has re-affirmed the 1 July, 2010 Naga People's Convention (NPC) declaration where the decision to severe all political ties with the Government of Manipur was taken.

People are asking one question to the UNC and NPC , in that case, why do the so called Nagas are participating at the 11th Manipur Legislative Assembly election-2017 and why do the UNC allow the NPF to join the Manipur BJP government and why do they insist on Tripartite talk with the State Government . Now the NPF minister and the Parliamentary Secretaries are working hard for bringing peace and development in the State. So the question of severing ties with state government is no longer valid. If UNC severe ties with the Manipur State Government, they should not initiate any Tripartite talk,

On 19 March, 2017, the United Naga Council (UNC) has agreed to lift the economic blockade after another round of Tripartite talk involving both the State Government and the Central Government. I was mutually agreed that the tripartite talk will be continued on mothly basis.

To be continued....

* Dr. Khomdon Lisam wrote this article for
The writer is MBBS, MHA(AIIMS), M.A (Leeds/UK), HSMC( IHF/London), CCAE( Chula/Bangkok) PDCE (UCLA/USA) Former Medical Superintendent , JNIMS, Ex-Consultant, NACO, Ex-Project Director (MACS) Southern Palace Compound, Palace Road, Imphal , Manipur
The writer can be contacted at khomdon(DOT)lisam(AT)yahoo(DOT)com
This article was posted on May 31, 2017.

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