GUWAHATI: Even before the settlement of the vexed and protracted “Naga issue”, a climate of protest has begun to brew in Manipur.
The influential United Committee Manipur (UCM) said it would oppose tooth and nail the formation of any “territorial council” in Manipur or coverage of the state’s Naga-inhabited areas under the Sixth Schedule of the Constitution.
Stating that it is closely monitoring the progress of peace talks between the Centre and insurgent group National Socialist Council of Nagalim (NSCN-IM), the UCM said it felt the negotiations might conclude any day.
“To conclude the peace talks, Government of India and NSCN-IM are likely to reach an agreement on the formation of a territorial council or the extension of Sixth Schedule of the Constitution (to Manipur’s Naga-inhabited areas),” UCM president Sunil Karam said.
As the UCM stands against community-based administrative division of Manipur, Karam said it would outright reject the formation of any territorial council or extension of the Sixth Schedule.
He insisted that the Centre consult the people of Manipur before signing any agreement even as he warned that the UCM would thwart any move that was aimed at disintegrating Manipur.
A separate “Naga national flag” and “Naga constitution” are believed to be acting as deterrents in resolving the seven-decade-old Naga political problem. Various Naga rebel groups assert that the twin issues are non-negotiable. Initially, the insurgency movement was launched to secure the sovereignty of the Nagas.
“The Naga national flag is the symbol of the recognized Naga entity...The Constitution of the Nagas is the book form of the recognized sovereignty and mutually-agreed competencies. NSCN is deeply committed to the Framework Agreement, and it will stand by it at all costs in all events,” the NSCN-IM said on Saturday.
The Framework Agreement, signed in 2015, was perceived to be a prelude to final Naga accord.