Questions on the ceasefire coverage
Understanding stand of UCM
Rolled back the phrase ‘ceasefire without territorial limits’ or nullified the Bangkok Agreement signed on June 14, 2001-This was way back in 2001 when Manipur erupted as one and which led to the death of at least 18 persons, ultimately forcing the then Vajpayee led Government at Delhi to roll back the ceasefire extension pact. Things however do not seem to have changed much as the phrase ‘taken note of camps’ still stands, best exemplified by the recent stand off at Sihai village in Ukhrul district and earlier the stand off at Shirui village in 2009, again in Ukhrul district. NSCN (IM) cadres literally calling the shots in the Naga dominated districts of Ukhrul, Senapati, Tamenglong, Chandel etc and moving around openly though there is nothing official to back this hard fact. It is against this reality that the NSCN (IM) recently announced that the ceasefire is in force in all the Naga inhabited areas beyond Nagaland and the present uproar raised by the United Committee, Manipur should be seen. Adding to the sense of apprehension all that more is the highly secretive nature of the Framework Agreement signed between the NSCN (IM) and the Government of India on August 3, 2015, just a year after the BJP led NDA Government assumed office in innings number 1. Now the same Government is back after a stupendous show at the recently held Lok Sabha elections and this must have added that sense of apprehension and urgency in the minds of all those who stand by the idea of Manipur as a distinct geo-political reality.
While the Government has been maintaining a complete silence over the Framework Agreement and the likely final agreement that may be inked anytime in the coming days, the NSCN (IM) on the other hand has been maintaining that unification of all Naga inhabited areas is very much there as part of the negotiation. No one knows how the final pact will emerge, but it has already sent ripples in Manipur and the coming days can only tell how the new development will impact on the State. For the moment, the BJP led Government at Imphal has been able to stall any immediate move from the UCM with a call to wait for the Chief Minister’s return, but this is small comfort. How can the ceasefire agreement be in force in Manipur is the reasoning behind the stand of the UCM and the people of Manipur. Territorial integrity of Manipur is at the base of this line of thinking. At the same time it would also do good for everyone to keep their sanity while dealing with the situation and not let things go out of control, for ultimately it is about Manipur and when one talks about Manipur, it cannot be understood sans its people-whether from the hills or the valley. It is this reality which should guide all future course of action that may be taken up. The demand is from the Government and this is a line that should be understood by all on either side of the Lim divide.