CM’s meet with CSOs: Naga solution at hand?
We cannot help asking, is something in the air. The office of the Chief Minister has convened a meeting with key civil society organisations of the State on August 5, and all rational citizens are aware that the CMO would have never called such a meeting if the agenda are not serious enough. Although no specific agenda have been spelled out, it has been reported that the meeting would deliberate on various issues of relevance with the consultative group which had been constituted to engage with the Government of India and the interlocutor of the political dialogue going on between New Delhi, NSCN-IM and other groups on issues related to Manipur. The meeting assumes immense significance if one juxtaposes it with the recent developments such as appointment of former interlocutor RN Ravi as the Governor of Nagaland and former Nagaland Governor PB Acharya’s open announcement that a solution to the political dialogue must be achieved within the year. We cannot help asking again, if the elusive Naga solution is finally at hand. A solution to the decades old political dialogue is long overdue but one primary concern of all stake holders is that it should be done without creating undue socio-political turmoil in the region. As of now, it is any body’s guess how would the Naga solution look like. As per a news report carried by the Hindustan Times sometime back, NSCN-IM has scaled down their demand from a sovereign State to greater autonomy for Naga people and integration of Naga inhabited areas under Greater Nagalim. There were also media reports which said that the Government of India has ruled out both sovereignty as well as integration of Naga inhabited areas.
Assuming that sovereignty and integration of Naga inhabited areas have been ruled out, the latest speculations among the masses, particularly keen observers of the dialogue process, are greater autonomy or a pan Naga development council or 6th Schedule or a similar provision. But all these ideas are unacceptable to the champions of the idea of united Manipur for any such arrangement would undermine the status of Manipur as a State. The protagonists of united Manipur have made it clear that they will oppose any form of demand like the pan-Naga cultural, provincial, territorial council or financial autonomy or ethnic administrative division. Seemingly, Kuki militant groups are also not happy with the idea of any special treatment to the Nagas at the cost of their own interests. If Manipur is seen as comprising of two geographical divisions viz; hills and valley, separation of Nagas and Kukis for any special treatment to either of them would be highly problematic for they settle together in the hills of Manipur. There is no (hill) district in Manipur which is exclusively inhabited by either Nagas or Kukis. No doubt, the negotiation is between New Delhi and NSCN-IM which has been struggling for the rights and future of Naga people but any Naga exclusive solution is most likely to impinge upon the interests of neighbouring communities particularly in a pluralistic State like Manipur unless New Delhi chooses to confine the much talked about solution to the present State of Nagaland. No doubt the political dialogue has finally started taking a concrete shape. As promised earlier by Prime Minister Narendra Modi himself, any solution to the political dialogue should not be one-sided. At the same time, New Delhi must take into account the historical circumstances under which Manipur was merged into the Indian Union while working out a solution to the Naga issue. A solution is no solution if it sows seeds for multiple issues while resolving just one.