TODAY -

No designated camps but noted areas : The peace conundrum
- The Sangai Express Editorial :: May 05 2015 -



It is more than confusing. Since the ceasefire pact between the Centre and the NSCN (IM) does not cover Manipur there are no designated camps of the outfit here.

This sounds perfectly in line with the understanding of the geographical coverage of the ceasefire agreement.

However the confusion starts when the State Government starts talking about notified areas or noted areas.

What is the difference between a designated camp and a notified or noted area ?

Limited vocabulary and hence the lack of knowledge about the difference between the two terms ?

The vocabulary of The Sangai Express is in fact extremely limited and it would be so much better if the Government takes the pain to point out the differences.

After the Siroy siege in Ukhrul district some years back, the term, notified areas gained popularity and it came to light that Manipur has such camps at the four Naga dominated districts, such as Oklong in Senapati, Buning at Tamenglong, at Chandel as well as at Ukhrul.

It is also common knowledge that though the ceasefire agreement does not cover Manipur, officially, the writs and diktats of the NSCN (IM) run large in all the Naga dominated districts of the State.

A fact which the State Government cannot hide and something known to all the different security agencies. Nothing wrong in maintaining peace in all parts of the State, but this should not amount to giving a free hand to anyone and one is not only talking about the NSCN (IM).

With election to the Autonomous District Council scheduled to be held on June 1 this year, no one can write off the uneasy feeling that some power players will try to influence the voters and this is something which Deputy Chief Minister Gaikhangam has already referred to some time earlier.

So how well prepared are the Government agencies to ensure a free and fair poll ?

This question is important in the backdrop of the fact that in the last ADC election held in 2010, a number of Naga frontal organisations had boycotted the same.

It did not end with the boycott call for as later developments showed, the elected ADC members, particularly from the Naga dominated hill districts could not dispense with their duties freely in their home town.

The situation was such that a good number of them had to stay put at Imphal and there were attempts to attack their official quarters at Chingmeirong, with deadly consequences.

The assassination of an elected ADC member, Ngalangzar Malue at Ukhrul district in July last year only made things worse.

Things may be different this time as no formal announcement of a poll boycott has been sounded. However more than likely that this will not be able to remove the apprehension of the voters completely.

Will the voters, particularly in the Naga dominated districts, be able to come out and exercise their choice without fear of reprisal from anyone ?

No easy answer here for anything can happen in the remaining few days.

Much will depend on how the NSCN (IM) and other armed outfits, active and having a presence in the hill districts, view the upcoming polls.

Will it be seen as a futile exercise, aimed at merely scoring a point or two or will it be seen as a move to delegate power and responsibility to the grassroot level ?

This is where the sincerity of the State Government will also be tested.

Time for the State Government to come around to the idea that holding the ADC election is but just the beginning of the process to delegate power and responsibility to the grassroot level in the hill districts.



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