A political riddle called framework agreement

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It was on August 3, 2015 that a framework agreement was signed between the Government of India and NSCN-IM which none other than Prime Minister Narendra Modi hailed as a historic accord. A great many people were euphoric when the framework agreement was signed. At the same time, an even larger number of people were worried and sceptical about the agreement as it was kept a closely guarded secret. With the passage of time, the sense of euphoria has subsided considerably but the feeling of anxiety on the other side of the fence has been only multiplying. Now, the All Manipur Students’ Union (AMSU) has declared that it would launch a sustained campaign under the banner ‘Campaign for Protection of Political Identity of Manipur’ so as to elicit the details of the framework agreement. The United Committee Manipur (UCM) and the Committee of Civil Societies Kangleipak (CCSK) too have asked all political parties and candidates of the 11th Manipur Legislative Assembly election to exert pressure upon the authority (sic Government of India) to make the contents and details of the framework agreement public. AMSU made it clear that they would not accept but challenge the framework agreement if it impinges upon the collective interests of Manipur in any manner. It was in October last year that Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh declared that the political dialogue going on between the Government of India and NSCN-IM had reached the final stage. If the framework agreement promises a new beginning for one group of people, it may spell doom for many others. When such a crucial agreement is still shrouded in mystery, one can easily gauge the growing anxiety among some sections of people. The deal made between NSCN-IM and the Government of India is rather obscure. Whereas NSCN-IM’s General Secretary and principal negotiator Thuingaleng Muivah claimed that sovereignty and Naga integration are very much on the agenda of the peace talk, Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Home Minister Rajnath Singh have repeatedly assured all the neighbouring States of Nagaland viz; Arunachal Pradesh, Assam and Manipur that their territorial integrity would not be affected.

When the two negotiators are speaking two different languages, all observers are bound to be confused. This confusion only multiplies the anxiety of the three neighbouring States. There is no meeting point between the demand for Naga integration and keeping the territorial integrity of the neighbouring States intact. Yet, there is a complete disconnect between the Government of India’s assurance and NSCN-IM’s insistence on sovereignty and Naga integration. Yes, Mr Muivah was talking about ‘shared sovereignty’. He said sovereignty of Nagaland should be with Naga people just as sovereignty of India lies with Indian people. When neither the Government of India nor NSCN-IM leadership bothers to explain what exactly shared sovereignty is, it is either unintelligible or left to speculations. Both the Government of India and NSCN-IM must not overlook the fact that too many stake holders are involved in the peace process. When so many sections have put their stakes in the peace process, they would definitely like to know what is going on at the negotiating table and they have the moral right to know what has been agreed upon. The longer the stake holders are kept in the dark, the greater would grow the inquisitiveness and the concomitant social unrest. At the same time, the total incompatibility between the Government of India’s assurance and NSCN-IM’s demand has only heightened people’s apprehension, anxiety and scepticism. Or do they have a magic formula which can churn out an amicable solution that would be satisfactory to all stake holders? This is the riddle AMSU would be trying to crack if we are not mistaken.

Source: The Sangai Express

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