Dialogue with GoI won't be at bureaucratic level: Nongyai


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By Our Staff Reporter
IMPHAL, May 18 : The Pambei led United National Liberation Front (UNLF)  hasn't started any dialogue with the Government of India (GoI) after the signing of a peace agreement between the two sides on November 29, 2023, said acting Chairman of the outfit Moirangthem Nongyai.
Speaking to the media on the sideline of the 'Kathokhrabasingee Ningsing Numit' observance at Nongpok Sanjenbam today, M Nongyai continued that the outfit is working to begin the peace dialogue after preparing a white paper regarding their demands.
The dialogue won't be on bureaucratic level, he said and added that the talk will be held directly with the leaders of GoI.
To a query about the report (claim) that some ca- dres of the outfit have surrendered to Assam Rifles, M Nongyai said that some fellow cadres of the outfit staying in Myanmar informed them about the inconveniences they were facing while staying in the neighbouring country and so the leaders of the outfit asked them to return to Manipur.
Saying that the cadres in Myanmar started their return journey cautiously through a safe route after taking consent from the outfit's leaders, M Nongyai continued that some of the cadres of Burma based PDF intercepted the returning cadres and a gun-fight ensued between the two sides.
About six cadres of the PDF may have been killed in the gunfight but there were no casualties on the side of  the Pambei-led UNLF, he claimed.
One cadre of the Pambei -led UNLF sustained a minor injury on his hand in the firefight, Nongyai said.
Nongyai further stated that the outfit contacted Manipur police and Assam Rifles deployed along Indo-Myanmar border to ensure safety of its cadres returning from Myanmar.
To another query about the progress of the peace dialogue with the Government of India, M Nongyai responded that the dialogue hasn't started as of yet other than signing the peace agreement.
He said that the peace dialogue may begin  after a new Government is formed at the Centre but it is unlikely the dialogue will start anytime soon.
The outfit will first prepare a white paper on their demands, M Nongyai maintained  and added that NSCN-IM also began their peace talk about three years after they signed a peace talk agreement with the GoI in 1997.
It may take some years to finalise the white paper, he said and added there won't be a formal talk until the white paper is prepared.
Saying that the merger agreement signed between the GoI and Manipur was on bureaucratic level thereby reducing the standard of the Manipur king to a level of bureaucrat, Nongyai maintained that they won't make the same mistake.
It is important to understand the historical events of Manipur, Nongyai added.
About the arrest of three leaders of the outfit including its army chief Sidaba Mapu by the GoI on March 13 last, Nongyai said they met the Chief Minister soon after they were arrested with a demand to release them.
However, the Chief Minister responded that they couldn't be released immediately as they were arrested by the Central agency, Nongyai said and added they reached out to the Intelligence Bureau (IB) and found out that  their leaders were arrested by another agency.
Saying they went to New Delhi on March 15 and met the officials of NIA with a request to meet the arrested leaders, he added that the NIA however turned down the request by stating that meeting them would be improper until investigation against them is finished.
Releasing them (the arrested leaders of Pambei led UNLF) may take about six months  as charge sheets have been submitted against them, he said and added that they will seek bail of the arrested leaders when the time is right and may approach the Supreme Court, if needed.
Meanwhile, the Kathokhrabasingee Ningshing Numit was observed at Nongpok Sanjenbam today.
During the observance, people and cadres of Pambei led UNLF led by Nongyai offered floral tributes to the bravehearts who laid down their lives in the course of 60 years of freedom struggle of the outfit.
Moirangthem Nongyai, Pambei-led UNLF general secretary Chabungbam Thanil,  finance secretary I Tonsana, Taragi Cheisu chairman Advocate Khaidem Mani, vice chairman Potsangbam Sonamani, Manipur Keithel Nupi Marup secretary L Memma,  Universal Mother's Organisation (UMO) president Moirangthem Sorojini Leima,  Federation of Civil Society Organisations (FOCS) president Th Manihar and advisor of Village  Development Committee, Nongpok Sanjembam Y Iboyaima shared the  dais during the  observance.
At the function, M Nongyai said they will return to the jungle and wage a war against the Government of India if the latter betray them after the initiation of a peace dialogue between the two sides.
He also said that the outfit won't surrender their arms until something concrete is worked out pertaining to the unfolding situation in Manipur.
While paying his obeisance to all who sacrificed their lives for the cause of Manipur, Nongyai said that he is happy on behalf of the outfit to be able to host the event successfully.
Saying that Manipur was once an independent kingdom in South East Asia with its own history and had the might to defeat the neighbouring Myanmar, Nongyai added that there is also a history of a Meitei king leaving behind a sword mark on the door of a pagoda at Mandalay.
Though Manipur was defeated in the 1891 Anglo-Manipur war, the erstwhile kingdom wasn't under the control of the British completely, he said and added that  there was monarchy in Manipur even after the Anglo-Manipur war.
Manipur didn't lose its internal sovereignty while the erstwhile kingdom was under the British till August 14, 1947, Nongyai said and added that the independence of Manipur was restored after the British left.
Stating that Manipur came under the control of India on October 15, 1949, Nongyai continued that there was a provision to restore the independence of Manipur while signing the Merger Agreement.
Manipur, unfortunately, lost its internal sovereignty after the merger with India, he claimed.
The ethnic conflict in Manipur may not have taken place had the erstwhile kingdom not lost its internal sovereignty, Nongyai said and accused the Indian Government of employing the same divide and rule policy used by the British against the people.
Kuki people can now demand a separate administration of their own because Manipur lost its internal sovereignty, he said.
Constitutional safeguard must be  given to protect the internal sovereignty of Manipur, Nongyai continued and added that internal sovereignty of Manipur is one of the agenda of the outfit in the peace agreement.