UCM asks Govt to state its stand on Naga issue
IMPHAL, 11th Aug: United Committee Manipur (UCM) has urged the elected representatives of Manipur to make their stand clear and carry out their responsibility toward the state before the conclusion of Indo-Naga Peace Talks likely by the end of September.
According to a release by UCM IPR secretary BM Yaima, as per a news report published in a Guwahati based newspaper on August 9, the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) has decided to finalise the Indo-Naga pact by the month of September. It further reported that in relation to this, peace talk interlocutor R N Ravi has been ordered to decide on the date and place for signing of the final agreement.
“This news should not be taken lightly by the people of the state, UCM is also keeping a keen eye on the development and will do everything to protect the integrity of the state,” it said.
UCM noted that since the publication of the news report, India’s interlocutor for the peace talk and Governor of Nagaland RN Ravi left for New Delhi from Kohima via Imphal on August 10 during which he confirmed to media persons that he is going to Delhi for talks. On the other hand, reports have also been received of leaders of Naga CSOs of Manipur leaving Imphal for New Delhi.
The news report mentioned that keeping aside the contentious issue of separate Naga ‘Flag’ and ‘Constitution’ for later talks, plans are being made to sign the final agreement of the peace talk based on other agreed aspects. If what the report says is true then its time people of Manipur (Kangleipak) and government jointly start discussing and understanding the issue, it added.
UCM observed that the other than the signatories no one knows what has been agreed upon during the talks between Government of India and NSCN (IM) along with NNPG. For example, the recent statement of Nagaland based Naga Students’ Federation (NSF) to media demanding disclosure of terms of agreement of Naga Peace Talk. In case of Manipur (Kangleipak), there has never been any detailed information provided to the state government and public, only when asked the Union government has given verbal assurance that there is nothing in the agreement that will affect the state. There have been many violent incidents in the state during the course of 23 years long Naga Peace Process. Many at times to test the waters on the agreement and mood of the people, Government of India with the help of its subsidiary media and close journalists have released interviews regarding the agreement. Not only that, R N Ravi’s report to Parliament Standing Committee in 2018 which created much controversy needs to be thoroughly studied, it mentioned.
UCM recalled that Government of India from time to time has shown its inclination to agree on some demands of NSCN (IM) which are disagreeable to Manipur (Kangleipak) such as formation of Nagalim by combining some parts of the state with Nagaland, Southern Nagaland, supra state, pan Naga cultural body, implementation of Article 371(A) in Naga dominated areas of Manipur, Naga Autonomous Territorial Council etc.
The Committee had made it clear to Union home minister Amit Shah and minister of state for home affairs G Kishan Reddy during their last meeting at New Delhi on November 25, 2019 that people of Manipur (Kangleipak) who have been opposing these demands for 23 years, is not something they will agree upon readily. The Committee stands by the resolution that was passed on September 19, 2019 in a public meeting at Lamyanba Shanglen which was also concurred by the government, it stated.
UCM reiterated that any change in unity and integrity of the state due to Naga Peace Accord should first be consulted with the state government and people. Public will not accept any unification of Naga inhabited areas, pan Naga cultural province/territorial council or financial autonomy or community based administrative arrangement/division or anything similar to it agreed by the Government of India. If in the final agreement of Naga Peace Talk there is anything that is against the wishes of people of Manipur is signed by the Government of India, people of the state will take the matter into their own hands and decide their own future. This has already been communicated to India’s Prime Minister and Manipur’s chief minister.
Chief minister, education minister and minister of state for home affairs G Kishan Reddy are witnesses to the assurance given during the visit of chief minister, education minister and delegation team of COCOMI to New Delhi on November 25, 2019, where it was told that before any drastic decision the representatives of the state will be invited back for consultation, it remarked.
Considering all this, UCM thinks that it will be better to once again convey the views of the people of Manipur in clear cut manner to the Government of India before the deadline of the Indo-Naga Peace Accord. Therefore, the Committee appeals to the chief minister N Biren, education minister Th Radheshyam and MPs of the state to make their stand and take up the responsibility of fulfilling public wishes.
UCM further opined that this is not the time to enjoy comforts of our home when the end is near which will decide whether Manipur will be divided or not. Covid-19 is just a one pandemic, it will come and go but if the territorial integrity of our land is disturbed once it will never return back, everyone knows this from history.
“Our Kabaw Valley has gone, we cannot take back the land that has been encroached by neighbouring nation in the name of border fencing. Hence, the coming Naga Peace Talk which may divide us again needs to be thwarted on time so it can be diverted. This is the only viable way UCM firmly believes. It is better that instead of intervention after violent protests, issues are tackled in advance and diverted,” it said.