Rewind of Shirui 2009 tale ?Stand off at Sihai village
Ceasefire pact not in force in Manipur. This is the official line adopted by New Delhi after New Delhi rolled back the phrase ‘ceasefire without territorial limits’ after Manipur went up in flames in 2000 after the said phrase was included in the pact signed between New Delhi and the NSCN (IM), in what is today known as the Bangkok Declaration. The interesting question is, how well is the spirit and content of the peace deal being honoured by either side ? This point comes to the fore only when a Central armed force like the Assam Rifles makes a big deal of it and this is best exemplified by the current stand off at Sihai village in Ukhrul district. As reported, the Assam Rifles got wind of a camp of the NSCN (IM) at Sihai village after a raconteur of the said village and this is what is happening. The interesting question however is whether the Assam Rifles would have gone public with the reality without a nod from the Centre. And more importantly why was the information of the stand taken by the Assam Rifles made available to the press in Manipur so easily ? This is a question which the Union Home Ministry can answer effectively for as everyone knows it is the Home Ministry under which the Assam Rifles comes. And why was the information made available to the press at this point of time when the country is going to polls ? These are all the politics that one may read into the ongoing peace negotiation between the Central Government and the NSCN (IM).
That the ceasefire pact is not extended to Manipur only on paper is a well known fact. That there are ‘taken note of’ camps of the NSCN (IM) on the soil of Manipur is another well known fact. This is where Oklong in Senapati, Buning in Tamenglong and Phunchung in Chandel may be mentioned. Moreover remember it was in 2009 when the Assam Rifles had a stand off with the same outfit at Shirui village. ‘Taken note of’ camps, this is the reality in Manipur and anyone coming under the impression that there are no designated camps of the NSCN (IM) in Manipur is refusing to acknowledge the reality. This is where a question may be raised to the State Government. Why is it that the Assam Rifles today thinks that it is pertinent or wiser to let the information of a camp of the NSCN (IM) at Sihai village in Ukhrul district go public ? The politics of the ongoing peace deal may be understood here. Is it a case of ‘you go by our biddings or else’ or is it a case of ‘tell the people the truth via the newspapers ?’ The answer can only be provided by the Government at New Delhi, especially in light of the the Framework Agreement signed in 2015.