UCM seeks Govt clarity on state's integrity

STAFF REPORTER IMPHAL, 23rd Oct: With safeguard of territorial boundaries of states neighbouring Nagaland becoming a hot topic of discussion in the light of imminent settlement of the Naga issue, United Committee Manipur (UCM) has demanded that political parties in the state make their stand clear on the matter and pressure the Centre for safeguarding the Manipur's integrity.

Addressing media persons at its Lamphel office on Monday, UCM president Elangbam Johnson noted that Naga political issue is likely to be settled probably by December this year based on the Framework Agreement signed in August 2015. The Centre is gradually roping in different stakeholders with the hope of bringing an end to the controversial Naga issue.

Johnson said that Assam Chief Minister Sarbanand Sonowal has recently made it clear that not an inch of Assam’s land would be compromised in resolving the Naga issue. Likewise, Manipur government had also made its stand clear on the issue of protection of territorial integrity of Manipur to the Centre and had even constituted a consultative committee in this regard.

However, the biggest matter that keeps the Framework Agreement at the point of suspicion is the deliberate action of the Centre to keep everybody in the dark when it comes to the contents of the agreement. Even though Central leaders have been assuring that the agreement will not affect the boundary of Manipur, there are possibilities of bringing an internal division in the administration of the state and the Centre might even sign the final agreement without letting the people of Manipur to know or give a chance to have their say, Johnson maintained.

As such, it is not the time for the government or political parties to remain calm even if they have made their stand clear on protecting the territorial integrity of Manipur. There would be a major uprising if the Centre stealthily signs off the agreement in complete defiance of the aspiration and wishes of the people of Manipur, he cautioned.

Considering the volatile situation, the state government and leaders of different political parties should mount pressure on the centre to ensure Manipur is not affected in any way while trying to resolve the Naga political issue, Johnson said.

He further said that Centre should not take any decision regarding the state without consulting the people of Manipur.

Taking any decisions which affect the interest of the people of Manipur would only mean an open invitation of another June 18 uprising, he forewarned.

CSOs in the state have been always going hand in hand with the public when it comes to the issue of protecting the territorial boundary of Manipur.

It is time for the government to understand the aspiration of the people and CSOs in the state and act accordingly in the best interest of the society, he said.

Stating that UCM will soon announce its course of actions regarding the Naga Political issue and its solution, Johnson appealed to the people to remain alert. On the other hand, UPF and KNO are now demanding a separate hill state in Manipur, which is not in the ground rules of Suspension of Operation (SoO) agreement and UCM strongly condemns such demands, Johnson said.

Pointing out that Manipur is not for a single community but for different communities, Johnson categorically stated that the demand of UPF and KNO will never be allowed.

The state could never be disintegrated based on ethnic lines, he said while demanding the state government to make its stand clear in this regard as well. Expressing concern over the involvement of some Kuki CSOs in the matter, Johnson appealed to such Kuki CSOs to stay away from such unrealistic demands as it would only create more chaos and unwanted incidents in the state.

He further appealed to the people of all communities settling in the state to refrain from bringing up issues with communal motives and act for the better good of the state as a whole. 

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