The Centre should take due note of the seriousness of the matter. Perhaps this is the first time, after the ceasefire agreement was inked way back in 1999, that the NSCN (IM) has come out strongly against New Delhi and at the core of it all is the creation of seven new districts by the State Government, the decision of the Centre to send in additional troops to the State to ensure the free flow of goods laden trucks on the National Highways in the face of the ongoing economic blockade imposed by the United Naga Council (UNC) and the assent given by Governor Dr Najma Heptulla to the creation of the seven new districts. This is not to say that the ongoing peace process between the Centre and the NSCN (IM) may be derailed, but the seriousness of the matter lies in the very fact that the Naga outfit has deemed it fit to come out so strongly against the Centre, though it remains that the State Government or rather Chief Minister O Ibobi is at the centre of it all. So from district creation to economic blockade, to the spontaneous outpouring of public angst against the economic blockade in the valley areas of the State to now the NSCN (IM) going hammer and tongs against the Centre, and things are certainly not looking good for the State and her people. In a few days from now, the world will be saying good bye to 2016 and ringing in a new year, and while Manipur will certainly bid adieu to 2016, it is more than certain that what has so far happened this year will be carried into the new year and this does not bode well for the place and the people.
It is also more than likely that the NSCN (IM) must have kept certain things in place before coming out with the statement against the Centre. Not that one statement to the media will derail the peace process between the outfit and the Centre, but it is disturbing to note that what is happening in Manipur has led the Naga outfit to come out so strongly against New Delhi. And it is here that questions may well be raised on how the present situation in the State will impact on the coming Assembly election in the Naga dominated hill districts of Manipur. If the present stance of the NSCN (IM) is any indication, then the BJP may not be that well placed in the Naga dominated areas while the Congress stands boycotted there. The creation of the seven new districts and the present situation in the State will only erode whatever little chances the Congress had in these areas and this is something which would not have missed the eyes of the senior Congress leaders. A more than enough indication that whatever is happening in Manipur right now has all the potential to impact on the coming Assembly election and it will be interesting to see how the BJP and the Naga Peoples’ Front square it off in the Naga dominated areas of the hill districts.
The Sangai Express Editorial