What is there in the Framework pact ? Need more than verbal assurance

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Manipuris to be consulted before final Naga accord. This was Union Minister of State for Home Affairs, Kiren Rijiju on February 23, ahead of the just concluded Assembly election. Framework Agreement not final pact. This was Centre’s interlocutor to the Naga peace talk RN Ravi, again on February 23, just before the State went to polls on March 4 and March 8. Other than these two personalities, Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh too had made it a point to repeatedly stress that the Framework Agreement signed between the NSCN (IM) and the Government of India on August 3, 2015 does not contain anything inimical to the interest of Manipur. Fast forward to March 23, 2017 and The Times of India carried a news report wherein general secretary of the NSCN (IM) Th Muivah was quoted as stating that the Framework Agreement recognises the NSCN (IM)’s demand for ‘territorial integration of all Naga-inhabited areas in the region.’ Just 48 hours later, the Centre stepped in and rebuffed the report of ‘carving out a larger Naga Land.’ The question uppermost in the mind of the people of Manipur, Assam and Arunachal Pradesh is, what exactly is the Framework Agreement and why has the Centre deemed it better to keep it so secretive ? Given the veil of secrecy surrounding the Framework Agreement, it was therefore not surprising to see how this has created a sense of restlessness and suspicion in the minds of the people here. Will verbal assurance be enough to address the suspicion in the minds of the people ? Or should the people just take the assurance of the Central leaders at face value ? These are all questions at the moment, for other than raising questions, and reiterating the stand that any design to compromise with the territorial integrity of the State will be opposed tooth and nail, there is not much one can do.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the top leaders of the BJP may be under the impression that keeping the Framework Agreement under wraps is the right way to go about it, but it remains that the longer the pact is kept under such a high veil of secrecy the more likely it is to sow more seeds of suspicion and distrust. Or is it just a broad framework into which the agreed terms will be inserted later ? If this is the case, then there is all the more reason for the NSCN (IM) leaders to pursue their idea of a Greater Lim so that the same may be inserted in the Framework Agreement when the time of reckoning comes. What the BJP leadership should acknowledge is that it will not make much sense in creating more problems while inking a deal with the NSCN (IM), for it will defeat the very purpose of ushering in peace and dealing with the armed movement in the North East region. Moreover the NSCN (IM) is a faction of the NSCN, with the Khaplang group having walked out of the truce pact some time back. Inking a deal with only the NSCN (IM) while plunging the neighbouring States into turmoil will not make any political sense. The BJP led Central Government should not lose sight of this fact.

Source: The Sangai Express

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