TODAY -

‘Without territorial limits’ clause : Journey from 2001 to 2015
- The Sangai Express Editorial :: June 20 2015 -



Without territorial limits. It was the insertion of this clause in the cease fire agreement on June 14, 2001 that led to the mass uprising on June 18, the same year, and gave birth to the day that has now come to be known as the Great June Uprising, Unity Day.

This phrase was withdrawn after 18 persons had laid down their lives and after Imphal witnessed one of her most tumultuous periods.

The angst of the people was visible in the manner in which the then State Assembly complex and number of political parties’ offices were reduced to ashes.

The sight of the then Speaker of the Assembly being paraded on the road by the angry people must still be fresh in the minds of those who had the opportunity to view the protest from close quarters.

For those engaged in the business of disseminating information to the people, that period will certainly go down as one the most significant periods.

Covering pitched battles between security personnel and protesters in the dead of the night, braving the tear gas bombs as well as the curfew became the staple activities of the journalists based in Manipur, particularly Imphal.

No one won, with Manipur emerging the lone and biggest loser.

Fourteen years down the line and the obvious question that comes to mind is whether things have improved or not.

Wonder how many people seriously dwell on this question, come June 18 every year, but this question is relevant and will be relevant.

The integrity of the land was a call which everyone heeded to and here it becomes important to question whether there will be such a spontaneous response when it comes to championing the integration of the different peoples living in the place called Manipur.

If June 2001 reaffirmed the firm stand of the people against any design to compromise with the territorial integrity of the land, then fast forward by 14 years and today there may not be such to say about the efforts taken up to cement the ties between people of different communities.

The ‘cease fire without territorial limits’ may have been rolled back, but yet there is nothing much to suggest that any plan has been taken up to bring the people of different communities closer together.

And so if 2001 saw the slogan of ‘territorial integrity’ rend the air then 2010 saw the Naga People’s Convention adopting the slogan that called for the severance of all ties with the Government of Manipur.

It is under this convention that the Centre has been engaged in a political dialogue with the United Naga Council and other Naga organisations.

Not yet clear where this talk is headed, but to be sure this has only succeeded in further deepening the sense of distrust amongst different communities of the land.

The cease fire without territorial limits clause has been rolled back, but there is nothing to suggest that all threats to the existence of Manipur as a socio-politico reality have been removed.

This is where people, cutting across community lines need to sit down together and seriously start exploring means to resolve their differences.

No force on earth should be allowed to toy around with the existence of Manipur as a social and political reality, yet at the same time it is also time for all to seriously start questioning why such a threat has come in the first place.

There must be reasons why some communities feel slighted and overlooked by the majority community. The answer can be found only through a sincere search.



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