GUWAHATI: Manipur is on the edge as the Centre steps up to resolve the protracted “Naga political problem”.
As there is an increasing concern among people about Manipur’s territorial integrity, state Assembly Speaker Y Khemchand Singh petitioned Prime Minister Narendra Modi making it absolutely clear that any alteration of the state’s geographical boundary will not be acceptable to the people of the state.
“Any threat of change in the existing state boundary is deemed unacceptable and non-negotiable to the people of the state. Therefore, safeguarding the territorial integrity of Manipur along with its rich socio-cultural fabric has been and always will be the top priority of the elected representatives of the people of Manipur,” the speaker wrote in his letter to the PM.
He reiterated the nine resolutions adopted by the Assembly for safeguarding the state’s territorial integrity stating that “Manipur is a pluralistic state where multiple ethnic communities have co-existed in peace and harmony since time immemorial.”
The Nagas have a sizeable population in Manipur which is a neighbour of Nagaland. Various Meitei (Manipuri) organisations have already made it clear that the final Naga accord should not hurt Manipur’s interests. Their worries increased following media reports that the Centre is considering giving a territorial council each to the Nagas of Manipur, Assam and Arunachal Pradesh.
So far, there has not been any reaction, either from the government or social organisations, in Assam and Arunachal Pradesh parts of whose areas are home to the Nagas.
Meanwhile, the social media is abuzz with reports that some 300 armed members of rebel group National Socialist Council of Nagalim (NSCN-IM), the chief negotiator in Naga peace talks, have vacated their central headquarters, Hebron, off Dimapur in Nagaland in civvies and moved towards Manipur on the way to Myanmar.
There is an impasse in the Naga talks over issues such as “Naga national flag” and Naga “yezabo” (constitution) which, the NSCN-IM claims, was committed in the Framework Agreement that it signed with the Modi government of August 3, 2015. The other rebel groups in Nagaland are, however, flexible. They categorically said that the twin issues could be pursued post-settlement of the Naga problem.