By Araba Meitei
Politicking on the creation of Sadar Hills, a proposal initiated even before the present legislative members could spell the word “POLITICS”, is wrong. The delay is only helping the formation of dark clouds looming over the issue from Senapati where the CM was given a foreigner and a land grabber’s welcome. It is unfortunate that the successive clandestine MoUs between the Government of Manipur and Naga NGOs initiated, signed and re-endorsed by Rishang Keishing and whose footsteps W. Nipamacha Singh, a Meitei Chief Minister, toed is tumbling out of the closet much to the amazement of the SHDDC. The government’s intentional disregards only accentuate the suspicion that like his predecessors the CM might have compromise the integrity of Manipur for Naga integration. To make things straight, one may recall the source from where the CM gained political strength to oppose Th. Muivah. Had the present government formation been the same as that of Wahengbam Nipamacha Singh, the government would have crumbled or the CM would have gone to Mao gate to welcome Muivah with garland made of Lotus buds plucked from Loktak Lake.
The delay in the formation of the district aggravates the issue further and by now a stroke of communal colour is painted by the Naga NGOs. All the possible consequences are now laid bare for all to witness. The calculated move to ignite fresh ethnic conflict between the hill tribes is not likely to surface this time round. With the agenda of land annexation in the name of urbanization still fresh in the minds of the hill brethrens, the conflict of interest is likely to result in communal re-alignment among the hill tribes. The re-alignment or unification of the hill brethrens is going to be the sure nemesis of Manipur.
In the politics of Manipur, the Kukis are like ping-pong balls between the Nagas and the Meiteis. The demand for fulfillment of the proposal made in the early 70s is made a ping-pong game between the opposing integrations – Manipur and Nagas on the simple pretext that Kuki population is disproportionately high in the proposed Sadar Hills. For the Nagas, Sadar Hills is a move to curve out generous portions of the district they hope to integrate with Nagaland. For the Meiteis, it is an opportunity to strike a discord and disintegrate the unity of the hill people seen in the form of COPTAM. Between these opposing forces the issue of creating a mere administrative unit is blown out of proportion underscoring the fact that in the politics of Manipur nothing matters more than the politics of the opposing nationalisms of Meiteis and Nagas. However, the balance between the two will be easily tilted in the wake of the Kukis taking a u-turn. Any move to reach a consensus between the Nagas and the Kukis is going to prove highly detrimental to the interest of the Meiteis. Unlike earlier times the consensus is no longer impossible. That will be the end of Manipur’s integration or aspiration for Manipur’s sovereignty.
To maintain the status quo of Kuki political tone is to maintain the status quo of the integrity of Manipur territorial boundary. The use of trifle matters like creation of Sadar Hills district as a pawn to usher in communal hatred should not be seen as the solution to gain inches in the hills. The move to seize settlement rights in the hills and protection of Manipur integrity, at this point of time, will not go hand in hand and it is likely to backfire sooner or later. It sent out a very wrong signal that protection of the whole of Manipur is given up and the government is merely attempting to save small pieces of land surrounding the valley by means of urbanization and human planting.
Therefore, creation of Sadar Hills should be seen as a move to bring about development and administration and nothing more.
The above article was sent to Kanglaonline.com by Mr. Araba Meitei, he can be contacted at araba.meitei[at]yahoo.in