From politics of guns to peace talk
From 1997 to 2020
From the politics of guns and bush war to the politics of peace and surely no one will know this better than the top leadership of the NSCN (IM). Qualify that peace with the word talk and while the guns have gone silent ever since the ceasefire pact was inked back in 1997, the peace process has also led to tension, suspicion and even violence perhaps best exemplified by the June 18, 2001 uprising in Manipur and the days that followed. Those in the media will certainly recall tension filled days, broken glasses on the roads and the days of curfew that was imposed after the June 18 uprising. Ceasefire without territorial limits, these are the words that led to the spontaneous uprising on the road with numerous offices of political parties razed to the ground as well as the State Assembly building. Back in 2001 the State Assembly building stood near GM Hall. Nineteen years since 2001 but the stand of the people has not changed, best exemplified by the United Committee Manipur, which has asked that Manipur be taken on board before a final pact is inked between the NSCN (IM) and the Government of India. It is also more than clear that the NSCN (IM) has not rolled back its demand for the unification of all Naga inhabited areas in the States of Assam, Arunachal Pradesh and Manipur. How things will proceed is not as yet clear but significant to remember that the Government of India has repeatedly assured that the political maps of the said three States would not be redrawn.
There is merit in the demand raised by the UCM. If at all Manipur is to be affected then it is only right that the people of the State be consulted before inking any final deal. This would be the best way forward. Sit down and talk things over. The NSCN (IM) and the numerous Manipur based Naga CSOs tool should understand the point raised by the UCM. If Manipur is not to be affected then there should be no problem, but it is only right that stakeholders are consulted before inking any final pact. This would be the right approach. Tough to forecasts which way the political negotiation will proceed, but in Th Muivah the Government of India has a tough negotiator, a point which must have become very clear by now. 23 years of political negotiation is a long time indeed and a child born back in 1997 when the truce pact was signed would be now 23 years old, an adult. A final pact may be signed anytime or the political negotiation may break down, which would not be to be the benefits of anyone, particularly the Naga community. The politics of peace may just be as hard as the politics of guns and the bush war and this is a point which must be very clear to the leaders of the NSCN (IM).