Never asked India for land quip Loaded with meanings

Nagas never asked India for its land. Coming as it is from newly appointed chairman of the NSCN (IM), Qhehezu Tuccu, this observation can be seen to be loaded with meanings. Never asked India for its land could also mean that the NSCN (IM) can and will ask for the land which they claim is the ancestral land of the Nagas. Very obvious that the unstated but implied meaning in the statement of Tuccu would not have gone unnoticed to the many who stand by the idea of Manipur as a distinct social and political reality. With the peace talk between the NSCN (IM) and the Government of India reportedly in its final leg, the latest statement from the chairman of the outfit can be disturbing to quite a number of people in Manipur, Assam and Arunachal Pradesh. As noted earlier in this column, with Lok Sabha elections slated to be held soon, the NSCN (IM) must be really keen on inking the final pact, for a change in Government after the election is bound to put back the peace process by a couple of years. This is what will make the coming Lok Sabha election critical to not only the two principal political parties, the BJP and the Congress, but also to the NSCN (IM), the six NNPGs and the Naga people. That the loaded with meaning statement of Tuccu was delivered despite the earlier assurances of the top notch BJP leadership that nothing will be done to harm the interests of the neighbouring States, is what will make the final outcome of the peace process all that more interesting to many people and not only to the Nagas and the people of Nagaland.
That the NSCN (IM) and many of its frontal organisations have not given up the Lim stand can be gauged from the series of statements coming forth from its leadership. The latest announcement of Tuccu is in also interesting in the sense that it has come barely a few days after chairman of the steering committee of the NSCN (IM) Rh Raising raised the Naga integration call again. No one seems to know which direction the dialogue between New Delhi and the NSCN (IM) is headed towards and with the Framework Agreement of August 3, 2015 still kept a zealously guarded secret, this has only increased the sense of anxiety amongst the people of Manipur, Arunachal Pradesh and Assam. This is where the numerous civil society organisations which have stood by the integrity of Manipur need to reach out to the CSOs of the other neighbouring States and see if a common approach may be adopted. Surely three States striking a common stand will carry more weight than going it alone. Uncertain times and while no one knows how the final pact will unfold, it stands that New Delhi will have to walk the tight rope with the realisation that it cannot afford to antagonise the States of Assam, Manipur and Arunachal Pradesh while seeking a solution with the NSCN (IM). Something has to be given after more than 20 years of political negotiation and how that something can be given without antagonising the three States is the million dollar question.

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