TODAY -

Journey from 1997 to 2015 : RN Ravi in the limelight
- The Sangai Express Editorial :: November 11 2015 -



From IK Gujral to Atal Behari Vajpayee to Manmohan Singh to now Narendra Modi, the peace process between the Government of India and the NSCN (IM) has seen at least four Prime Ministers from August 1, 1997 till date.

Rewind a year or two back and the spadework for the peace process started during the time of PV Narasimha Rao which was carried on by HD Deve Gowda with a break in between when Vajpayee was the Prime Minister for 13 days.

In between is the Bangkok Declaration of 2001 when Manipur rose in protest and which resulted in the death of 18 persons on June 18 which constrained the then BJP led NDA Government to delete the phrase ‘without territorial limits’ from the peace pact between the two entities.

Notwithstanding this, the commitment of the two sides can be gauged from the fact that the peace process has survived for 18 years on the trot and in between it has also seen at least three interlocutors in the persons of Swaraj Kaushal, Padmanabhaiah and now RN Ravi.

Maybe it is the August 3, 2015 Framework Agreement, but RN Ravi can be said to be the most visible interlocutor that the peace process has seen and perhaps he is the first person to interact directly with all the stakeholders here.

Something which cannot be said of the other interlocutors. Maybe it is the ghost of the June 18, 2001 protest and the loss of lives but it is significant to note that RN Ravi has visited Manipur twice after the Framework Agreement was signed on August 3 this year.

These two visits have been widely publicised and so are the meetings that the interlocutor has had with different stakeholders.

A more than enough indication that the Centre is keen to reach out to everyone and keep everyone informed, despite the fact that the details of the Framework Agreement have not been spelt out to anyone.

It is the vagueness of the Framework Agreement that has led to speculations and anxiety amongst the people, especially to those who have been the vanguards of protecting the territorial integrity of Manipur.

RN Ravi on the other hand has been strongly advocating that any agreement inked with the NSCN (IM) will not intrude on the territorial integrity of Manipur but the speculations continue to fly.

During his two visits here, RN Ravi has met members of civil society organisations from all communities but it is still not very clear what he had to say to the members of the different civil society organisations, other than the assurance that the territory of Manipur will not be compromised but that something ought to be given to the NSCN (IM) and the people they represent.

So far what the media in Manipur has received is the strong stand taken by some organisations against doing anything that may compromise with the territorial integrity of Manipur and that any final agreement should not bypass the authority of the State Government.

This is fine and goes well with the idea of a Manipur, but spelling out the other details of the interaction programmes will be welcome.



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