Stakeholders to be consulted:
Pending the final pact
All stakeholders will be consulted before the final deal is inked with the Naga armed groups, meaning the NSCN (IM) and the seven NNPGs. This is the assurance of the Government of India, the latest coming from the Union Minister of State for Home, G Kishan Reddy in the Lok Sabha on November 19. This is fine and good and the series of alert sit-ins which have been going on under the Coordination Committee on Manipur Integrity (COCOMI) is perhaps just the right message that has been sent to the Centre before the final agreement is inked. Much progress in the peace process has been made-this is again fine and good, but what should be clear is the fact that Manipur is steadfast against any deal that will compromise with the authority of the State Government. Explicit in such a stand is the point that any arrangement that bypasses the State Government for a particular community would not be agreeable. Yet at the same time it also stands that something will have to be given, especially to the NSCN (IM), given the fact that it has been engaged in a peace process with the Government of India for the past 22 years. Any solution will have to involve a certain degree of give and take but the problem here is, no one knows on what line the dialogue is proceeding and what the broad contours of the points agreed so far are. Already Interlocutor to the peace talk RN Ravi has made it amply clear that a separate flag, a separate Constitution and a Greater Lim are out of the question and the logical question then is what is agreeable ?
This is where it becomes important for the people of Manipur to introspect and study what are the things that may be acceptable. Not everything will be confined to Nagaland alone for remember the top leadership of the NSCN (IM) all hail from Manipur. This is where the question of what is acceptable to the people becomes important and the sooner this poser is addressed to, the better it would be for everybody. It is also important for Delhi to understand that the Government of Manipur should be given enough time to consult the people via the numerous civil society organisations on what the final settlement will be and how it will impact on the State. Difficult to say how things will pan out in the coming days but tension is running high and so many speculations are doing the round. This has been all that more so since the progress of the talks has been kept a highly classified information with no one really knowing what is actually happening. No wonder speculations are doing the round and this cannot be good for the people in any way. Such a situation has given rise to many ‘experts’ all shooting in the dark but nonetheless sowing seeds of suspicion. And such ‘experts’ are numerous on either side of the ‘divide’. Ultimately what is needed is a pragmatic approach. Something will have to be given, and this is where the people may study what may be extracted for the something that may be given. This is where the State Government will need to reach out to the CSOs and the people and take them into confidence.