Need for Imphal to reach out to hill based CSOs:
22 years long peace talks
Keeping a close tab on the ongoing peace talks between the NSCN (IM) and the Government of India. Not taken into confidence but nonetheless the State Government is keeping itself abreast of the latest development as far as the said peace dialogue is concerned. This was Chief Minister N Biren while speaking to the media at the Canchipur office of the BJP on Tuesday and definitely the optimism of the Chief Minister is infectious. Yet at the same time one hopes it does not blow into a sense of over confidence or self complacency given that no one seems to know at what stage the peace talk is and what are the points that have been discussed or are being discussed. Moreover the Framework Agreement signed between the NSCN (IM) and the Centre on August 3, 2015 is still a closely guarded secret with no one knowing what it actually contains. Not a new situation and it has been like this for the last 22 years ever since the ceasefire agreement between the NSCN (IM) and New Delhi was signed on August 1, 1997. More than 22 years now and surely the Framework Agreement of 2015 must have given the needed boost to the ongoing peace parley and while the civil society organisations of Manipur have made their stand known in clear cut terms, other CSOs which stand by the idea of a Greater Lim too have made their stand known to one and all unequivocally. This is where the announcement of the Chief Minister that the State Government is making efforts to let the hill based CSOs and the two member Consultative Committee meet and talk things over appears to be on the right track.
The Government may also take one step further and try to initiate a meeting between the CSOs of the valley and the CSOs of the hills where both sides may talk things over and start a confidence building exercise. This is where it becomes important to acknowledge the point that after more than 22 years of negotiation, something has to be given to the NSCN (IM) and perhaps meetings between the CSOs on either side of the Lim divide may help in putting one’s ideas and aspirations to the other better. Better people to people contact, this is what The Sangai Express has been espousing all these years and perhaps this could be a sort of a starting point. Important for all to acknowledge too that the BJP led Government at New Delhi seems to be on a mission and resolving the Naga issue seems to come high on its list of priorities. The fact that the Framework Agreement was signed barely one year after it came to power in its first stint in office in 2015, should prove this. In the second edition of the BJP Government, Articles 370 and 35A have been taken away from Jammu and Kashmir and the State is today bifurcated into two Union Territories, in Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh. This fact may help guide all concerned to deal with the issue that one is talking about here.