The precursor of things to come Tension running high

This may just be the trailer. Womenfolk attempting to storm the official residence of the Chief Minister, personal residence of the Deputy Chief Minister and other Cabinet Ministers in the last few days, the tense stand off with police personnel, the shut down call given by womenfolk in selected areas of Imphal will be the precursor of things to come, if the interest of Manipur is hurt in any way when the final deal is struck with the NSCN (IM). With talks doing the round that the final deal may be struck anytime soon and the Bill to this effect may be introduced in Parliament any time, tension is obviously running high in Manipur. So while the Naga people eagerly await the final deal, the people of Manipur are apprehensive that the final pact will infringe on the interests of Manipur. The call may have gone from territorial integrity of the State to opposing any arrangements such as extending the provisions of Article 371A to Naga dominated areas, but the underlying meaning in the stand of the people should not be lost on anyone. It is a stand against any agreement that could pose a threat to the existence of Manipur as a geo-political reality. A different set of administrative arrangements for the Naga dominated areas will definitely erode the existence of Manipur as a geo-political reality and this is what the people are against. As stated many times in this column, the stand of the BJP led Government at Imphal is not clear on the question of Article 371A. This may be spelt out or the Treasury bench may be made to spell out its stand on Article 371A when the Assembly session is held on August 16 to discuss the Framework Agreement.
With tension running high, false or half truth information are doing the round on the social media and it is here that everyone need to be on the alert and not jump to conclusion on hearsay. It also becomes important for all not to politicise the issue with an eye on the upcoming Lok Sabha election scheduled for next year. To those who experienced the days after the phrase ‘ceasefire without territorial limits’ was inserted in the ceasefire pact on June 14, 2001, the present tension must be understandable. If Manipur could go up in flames on the ground that the ceasefire has been extended to the soil of Manipur, one can imagine what it may be like if anything is inked that is inimical to the interest of Manipur in the final pact. A reality which should not escape the consciousness of New Delhi. A truce pact should have no room for creating another set of problems, which may prove detrimental to the interests of everyone concerned. And this is where civil society organisations on either side of the Lim divide need to be extremely careful while articulating their stand on the issue. Big, tough talks should be avoided at all cost, for this can mislead the common people. It is the same thing with the NSCN (IM) too. The time calls for a mature approach to the issue and no room should be created to add to the air of suspicion and distrust. The State Government should seek to give confidence to the people that the stand of the people is highlighted to the Centre effectively.

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