Centre will regret if Manipur balkanised: CSOs

STAFF REPORTER IMPHAL, 11th Nov: Along with convening a public meeting on November 18 to deliberate on the evolving situation subsequent to signing of the framework agreement between the Central government and the NSCN-IM, civil society organisations such as UCM, AMUCO and CSSK have asserted that the Centre will certainly regret in case the Naga peace process leads to distortion of Manipur’s history.

Speaking to newspersons on Saturday, United Committee Manipur (UCM) president Elangbam Johnson cautioned that the Central government leaders need not retest determination of the people to protect territorial boundary or preserve the history of Manipur.

The media briefing conducted at the Lamphelpat office of UCM was also attended by functionaries of All Manipur United Clubs’ Organisation (AMUCO) and Committee of Civil Societies Kangleipak (CSSK).

Even before the framework agreement was signed on August 3, 2015 the Centre’s initiation for settling the Naga issue had been creating an uneasy situation in Manipur, he said.

In-spite of movements launched by the people to send out clear and firm message that any bid to redraw the map of Manipur will be fiercely opposed the Centre has been devising various surreptitious means detrimental to interest of the state, Johnson alleged.

He also reminded that under no circumstance should the Union government ignore the six-point memorandum submitted by the three CSOs to Central leaders on two occasions.

While opining that the Central government starting to engage Nagaland-based CSOs and armed outfits in the peace process gives an indication that the Indo-Naga talks is nearing the final stage, the UCM president informed a meeting involving advisors, consultants and stakeholders concerned was held some days back.

Apart from resolving to stand firmly against any move to disintegrate Manipur, the said meeting also decided to resort to launch agitation never experienced in the region, he said while contending that the stir might strain the India-Manipur relationships eternally.

Johnson also suggested that the Centre should take extreme care so as to ensure that in the pursuit for finding an amicable settlement to the Naga issue interest of Manipur and its people is not compromised.

While appealing to all sections of the society not to misinterpret any movement initiated by the three CSOs, he also called upon the people to abstain from adding communal tone to the issue.

Opining that the Centre needs to shoulder the responsibility to avoid any semblance of parallel governance in the state, Johnson iterated that the process to solve the Naga issue should be inclusive and honourable to all states in the north-east region.

Prior to taking a final decision on the framework agreement, the Central government should consult stakeholders concerned in order to avert recurrence of public movement similar to the tumultuous June 18 agitation, he said while cautioning that any bid to forcibly suppress the people’s movement or arrest CSO functionaries will have disastrous consequences.

Joining the media briefing, CSSK president Jitendra Ningombam mentioned that neither the state government nor any elected people’s representatives have any valid reason to raise objection against the people’s movement for most of them had appended pledge to uphold the territorial integrity of Manipur before conduct of the assembly election.

With regard to the meeting proposed on November 18 at Lamyanba Shanglen, Palace Compound, he said the deliberation on ‘possible outcome of framework agreement in the context of Manipur’ will have threadbare discussion on all aspects of the Indo-Naga peace process.

Seeking participation of individuals as well as CSO representatives in the said meeting, Jitendra informed that resolutions adopted on the basis of views shared by the speakers will be handed over to the Central government in the form of a memorandum.

In his address, AMUCO president Ph Deban clarified that public movement launched by the three CSOs has nothing to do with undermining interest of any section of the society but is purely aimed at protecting traditional boundary of Manipur and sustain peaceful co-existence all the ethnic communities.

Recounting that memorandum submitted earlier to Centre’s interlocutor of the Indo-Naga peace talks RN Ravi enumerated the history of Manipur and existence of different communities, he opined that the Centre cannot equate the situation in Manipur to that of Nagaland.

While 80 per cent of the population in Nagaland are Nagas, Manipur has been home to different ethnic communities and as such it would be a gross mistake to draw a conclusion on the Naga issue from the perspective of Nagas alone, he said.

With reference to non-disclosure of contents of the framework agreement, Deban said sincerity and commitment of the Central leaders in upholding the interest of Manipur and its people remain highly questionable.

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