TODAY -

Questions over the status of SoO pact : Realpolitiks at play
- The Sangai Express Editorial :: March 12, 2024 -



Ten months into the conflict and there is nothing to suggest that normalcy is anywhere near in sight.

The question is how long Manipur can afford to continue living in this state of conflict.

A question which should be given top priority and the fact of the matter is, this question should have been raised a long time back.

The fact that the conflict has dragged on for over 300 days should more than underline the fact that no serious efforts have been made to take Manipur on the track of normalcy and this is what is deeply disturbing.

No logic explains the indifference of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, best exemplified by his deafening silence, but this should no longer be taken as the reason for the violence to continue.

And if New Delhi does not seem to have any clue on how to deal with the ongoing clash, can one expect Imphal to come out with anything tangible to address the issue ?

The answer should be obvious to all.

This is the reality and perhaps this is where it becomes important to question whether the people as a whole have it in them to start talking the language of resolving the matter and put Manipur on the track of normalcy.

Not an easy task, especially given the fact that there is nothing to suggest that the Indigenous Tribal Leaders’ Forum (ITLF) and the Committee on Tribal Unity (CoTU) have moved on from their slogan ‘Solution first, Peace later.’

The solution that is being talked about here is clear but there is no way Manipur or even New Delhi would entertain such a preposterous suggestion though New Delhi has not uttered a single word on the Separate Administration demand put forth by the Kuki-Zo MLAs and the silence continues on the status of the Suspension of Operation pact.

February 29 has come and gone, but there has been no official statement on the pact being extended.

If it is not extended then does this mean that the SoO pact is no longer operative ?

No words have come forth from the Union Home Ministry and what is at hand is a state of uncertainty.

What it has served however is ‘silencing’ the growing demand from Manipur that the SoO pact be abrogated.

Remember the days running to February 29 and the loud audible demand raised to abrogate the SoO pact comes to mind, but now with no official confirmation on whether the pact has been extended or not, the demand has been muted to a certain extent.

Can one read a political masterstroke in the silence maintained on the status of the SoO pact is a question which Manipur should be asking within itself now.

More than the people, the Government at Imphal too should be raising this question and one wonders if the political leaders of Manipur have made any efforts to know the status of the SoO pact or are just being satisfied with the silence maintained by New Delhi.

This is where one needs to understand the realpolitiks of inking and driving the SoO pact year after year since 2008.

Understanding or trying to understand the geo-politics of the region, especially given the volatile situation in Myanmar, the fact that at least one of the SoO groups the Zomi Revolutionary Army (ZRA) is headed by a man from Myanmar and again another fact that the Kuki-Zos have close filial ties with the people of Myanmar who live along the Indo-Myanmar region, should be factored in while trying to understand the geo-politics of the region and why the SoO pact was signed in 2008.

Plus an understanding of the armed movement in the region launched by the Nagas most notably under the NSCN (IM) and the other armed groups dominated by the Meitei people is needed.

For over 15 years the SoO pact has been in force and peace cannot be part of the pact in any sense for the Kuki armed groups are not known to have ever targeted the security forces of India.

This is where the question, why the SoO pact was inked rises and why it has been extended year after year since 2008.

The focus of Manipur should now be on the status of the SoO pact.

A state of uncertainty over this cannot be of any help in bringing Manipur to the path of normalcy and Delhi should acknowledge that geo-politics should not be allowed to ride roughshod over the fate of the indigenous people of the land.



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