By Lt. Col. Laishram Lokendra Singh (Retd)
It’s amply clear now. The so called Naga political problem is slated to be resolved by GOI by March 2013, perhaps before the Nagaland Assembly Election. NSCN(IM) proposes among others to carve out the four hill districts out of the five (hill districts) in Manipur as part of Nagalim. So their stand is clear and GOI has taken note of it. Accordingly, O. Ibobi Singh, CM has been instructed by Sushil Kumar Shinde, Union Home Minister to co-operate in resolving the issue; inference – “Do as you are told to do”.
On the other hand Kukis have demanded Statehood of Kukiland which includes major chunks of Senapati, Ukhrul, Tamenglong besides Churachandpur and Chandel districts. It is obvious that they would want to settle the issue before the so called Naga political problem is resolved so that there is clear cut bifurcation of the hill districts as two separate entities. Kuki’s stand on the issue therefore is also quite clear.
Now what is however not clear is what is the Meitei’s take on the political scenario that is unfolding itself vividly. Why? Because there is no one to speak up for the Meiteis. State government which is accused of being communal is helpless because those who are at the helm of affairs will just do what they are told to do by the Centre as their chair is so very important to them. Further they will also do anything so long as their percentage cut is ensured.
Meitei Civil Society Organizations are no better. Their one upmanship and individual chauvinism with vested interest will take them to their doom sooner than later. They can only cry hoarse in Imphal. Neither do they have the locus standi nor the spunk to talk to Delhi. With the political situation getting serious by the day, perhaps the day is not far when people will kick them out too just as they have shooed away the valley insurgents from their habitat – the valley.
So literally speaking there is nobody to speak up for the Meiteis as things stand today, nobody to represent them when the decision is being deliberated at Delhi as to how the surgical knife should be held to slice Manipur into bits and pieces to appease a particular ethnic group. The Meitei Nongsa (Lion) is definitely in hibernation. Pathetic!
It was interesting to read the statement of a particular group of valley insurgents that appeared in the media a while ago which said that they will carry on fighting for “Ima Leibak Manipur” and there is no question of talking to GOI. It’s a gutsy stand and full marks for it. But the reality is disturbing. Which Ima Leibak Manipur are they going to fight for? Is it the historical Manipur with its geographical and political entity as it stands today? Or would it be the left over geographical entity after its bifurcation into Naga’s and Kuki’s homeland? To be precise, is it going to be Imphal East, Imphal West, Thoubal and Bishenpur Districts? That too without the mole hills in the valley like Waithou Chingol, Chinga, Langjing, Langol, Chingmeirong which are supposed to be part of Sadar Hills district which would logically be a part of Kuki homeland?
The obvious answer is ‘No’. But then how are they going to prevent this disintegration of Manipur? Are they going to burn Union Home Minister’s effigy in their respective camps in the jungles of Myanmar? Why can’t they have their representative talking to GOI at the highest level? Make no mistake, talking is not surrendering. But the million dollar question is with each one of them on one upmanship act, who is going to be their acceptable representative? Why not R.K. Meghen who is now under the custody of NIA? Is there any other Meitei who has the right intellectual resource and who has been rightly placed as of today for the Himalayan task? Why not give him people’s mandate to represent the Meitei’s interest whenever the issue of fragmenting the territorial integrity of Manipur is deliberated upon between GOI and NSCN(IM) or for that matter with any other UG group?
GOI seems to ignore the fact that Meiteis are also stake holders on the issue of the future of Manipur. Therefore, it is imperative that the Meiteis also have a representative to talk to GOI at the highest level. Or else, let the Meitei Nongsa (Lion) sleep and when he wakes up from the deep slumber he should be mentally and morally prepared to accept the leftover of what has been fed to others as his legitimate share. Is anybody listening?