Bucket of cold water after a hot shower. Or blow hot, blow cold. This about sums up the situation in Manipur, in so far as the boycott call of the Sangai Festival called by the Coordinating Committee on Manipur Integrity (COCOMI) is concerned. Central to the blow hot, blow cold stance over the boycott call is the ongoing Naga peace talk and the demand that nothing should be included in the final pact that can have an adverse impact on the existence of Manipur as a geo-political reality. And obviously the series of ‘alert’ sit-in protests that have been staged all over Manipur since the end part of October also centres around the Naga peace talk more specifically the peace talk with the NSCN (IM). It was around mid-day of November 24 that news started doing the round that COCOMI had called off the ‘boycott Sangai Festival’ call, kicking off a series of verbal diatribes against the flip-flop stand. Soon a piece of paper, purportedly signed by co-ordinator of COCOMI, Sunil Karam went viral on the social media, suspending the boycott call. Interestingly the boycott was suspended on the ground that a date with Union Home Minister Amit Shah has been fixed on November 25 at New Delhi and it was agreed that the Assembly will be convened and a House resolution will be taken reiterating the integrity of the State. A few Imphal based newspapers also went to town uploading news that the boycott call has been lifted only to later upload another news story that the boycott has not been lifted.
Confusion all over. To make matters worse, a press conference convened by COCOMI at the office of UCM at 1.30 pm on November 24 had no one to address the media and reporters had to come back empty handed, with no one actually from COCOMI stepping out to put the record straight. The only point that was confirmed by some members of COCOMI is that its representatives will proceed to New Delhi for the date with Amit Shah. Not a word was said on whether the boycott on Sangai Festival has been lifted or not. Now that representatives of COCOMI are now set to proceed to New Delhi for a meet with Amit Shah, it would be interesting to see if they can come back with a written assurance from the Union Home Minister that the interests of Manipur would not be jeopardised due to the Naga peace talk. Remember this is the same thing they had demanded when Chief Minister N Biren and other political leaders met Amit Shah not so long back. Questions may also be raised on whether the people should believe any news brought by COCOMI from Amit Shah, for remember it was COCOMI which had all along been maintaining that they cannot trust the word of the Union Home Minister. Ironic it is but in the same disputed statement that was circulated, COCOMI had asserted that ‘alert’ sit-ins would continue but yet at the same time agree to meet the Union Home Minister. Clearly the equation between the State Government and COCOMI seems more like between the cartoon characters Tom and Jerry as a young man put up on his Facebook status to express his exasperation.