What is it the common folks want?
September deadline. It could be the first week, second week, third week or the last week of September to sign a final deal, now popularised as the Naga Accord, and the interesting point is whether the deadline has been ‘selectively leaked’ to a newspaper which primarily has its readers in the Deccan region of the country to pile the pressure on the NSCN (IM) to come on board and sign the final deal or whether this entails something else. Whether the purported deadline is wordplay or means something substantive can be known soon as September is just within shaking hands distance, but as in any political negotiations a certain degree of give and take will have to be there and how the two sides proceed with the process of give and take can only be known when the final pact is signed. It is also interesting to note that in ‘selectively leaking’ the information, the Home Ministry sources made it known that it is ready to go ahead and sign the final deal sans the NSCN (IM), notably with the Naga National Political Groups, which came to the negotiation table only in 2017. The interesting point at this juncture is, just how representative the NNPGs is of the Naga people, a question which can only be answered by the Naga people. Moreover can the Government expect peace to prevail if a final deal is inked sans the NSCN (IM) ? All questions but importantly any final deal that has to do only with the State of Nagaland will be largely welcomed in Manipur, for this is something which all those standing for the geo-political reality called Manipur, have been repeatedly asserting. No final deal inked with the NSCN (IM) should impact on the interests of Manipur has been the repeated stand of the people ever since the ceasefire agreement was inked way back in 1997.
Succinctly underlines the point that in as much as the ceasefire agreement and the peace negotiation between the Government of India and the NSCN (IM) has been going on for the past 23 years, the people of Manipur too have been steadfast in their stand that any final deal that impacts on the interests of Manipur will be opposed tooth and nail. The people have stood by this point steadfastly since the last 23 years. Any view on the peace process without taking into consideration the stand of the people of Manipur can only be seen as a lopsided stand. This is the position that the Government of India too should understand. As noted here, 23 years is a long time and the best move forward would be for either side to understand each other’s position and see how the final pact may be inked without rubbing anyone the wrong way. The understanding of one big Naga family too started taking roots amongst the people some decades back and it became more and more vocal in the 1990s and unfortunately along the way it came to be understood as something of ‘my family’ versus ‘your family’ and this is something seen in the context of Manipur prominently. Just what is it that the common people want or is it a question of making the people feel what they should want ? This is the crucial question which the common people should start raising amongst themselves now.