TODAY -

Points Imphal should lay before Delhi : Argue for Manipur's sake
- The Sangai Express Editorial :: February 16, 2024 -



The silence bordering on indifference is astounding and so while Manipur continues to burn for more than 9 months on the trot, New Delhi seems to be under the impression that some measures such as the decision to scrap the Free Movement Regime (FMR) and fencing the Indo-Myanmar border will do the trick.

As noted in an earlier commentary here, the two measures are fine and should help in curbing future incursion from across the porous border, but Delhi has not yet given even a hint that some of the major points raised would be addressed soon.

What Manipur wants is a commitment that all illegal immigrants would be identified and marked out.

Experts have pointed out that deporting them may just fall short of acceptable international norms as the question of whether they would be acceptable to the host country hangs heavy, but this is not the time to go into the debate of usage of terms.

The central agenda should be to identify the illegal immigrants, mark them out and ensure that they do not get to enjoy the entitlements of genuine citizens of the land.

The Government seems to be more concerned with fixing the base year of identifying the illegal immigrants at 1961 while different civil society organisations have pitched in for 1951.

This again should not be of much importance, for the bigger agenda should be to identify and mark out the illegal immigrants.

This is where one may question what steps Imphal has taken up to respond to the opinion sought by the Centre on whether the nomadic Chin Kuki should continue to enjoy the facilities provided to the Scheduled Tribes under the Constitution of India.

The query has been raised from New Delhi on the basis of the argument put forth that the Chin Kukis are not indigenous to the land with many questioning their status as legal citizens of the land.

In the same vein, questions may also be raised on where Imphal exactly stands on the intimation from the Centre to send the needed socio-economic report of the Meiteis vis-a-vis the demand raised that the Meiteis be included in the ST list of the Constitution of India.

The said intimation was sent in 2013 and this is where questions ought to be raised on where the State Government stands on the matter.

As suggested many times in this column, the time is more than opportune for the Scheduled Tribe Demand Committee, Manipur, the World Meetei Council, the Meetei (Meitei) Tribe Union and others to make the ST for Meiteis demand a major issue when the next Assembly election comes around.

This point may also be raised in the run up to the coming Parliamentary election.

It also time for Imphal to seriously question where New Delhi stands on the demand that a National Register of Citizens be implemented here.

This should be a natural follow up to the decision to fence the Indo-Myanmar border and do away with the Free Movement Regime.

Doing away with the FMR and fencing the border without an NRC would not wholly address the problem of illegal immigrants in Manipur.

This is not the time for the Government of Manipur to rest easy for there are lots to be done.

The question is whether the State Government is in the position to raise these issues effectively before New Delhi or not.

Abrogate the Suspension of Operation pact is another call that was raised audibly during the earlier days of the violence and clash, but today this is not as audible as desired.

This reminder is in line with the fact that the SoO pact is set to expire by the end of this month and while there is nothing to indicate that New Delhi may abrogate the pact, there is no reason why the cry to call it off should go silent.

This is where Imphal may step in and see if it can convince New Delhi to take another hard and close look at SoO and accept the fact that the pact was signed with outfits which have never waged a war against the security personnel.

This is where questions have been raised on the reason for inking the pact in the first place and with no answer all these years, this has only given room for conspiracy theories to fly thick and fast.

Manipur has burnt long enough and while the silence of the Prime Minister seems set to continue, there is no reason why Imphal should not put up the case of Manipur more forcefully and more effectively.



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