The next round of talk, that is at the political level, is yet to be held but both sides have already stated their stand.
To the United Naga Council (UNC), the core issue is obviously the creation of the seven new districts, particularly Kangpokpi district and to a lesser extent, Jiribam district, while on the other hand, Chief Minister N Biren has made it known that there is no question of rolling back the decision to create the new districts.
The stand of the two sides is understandable.
It is the claim of the UNC that the land where Kangpokpi is located is the traditional land of the Nagas and to the Nagas land and people cannot be separated.
To the BJP led Government, the Government is a continuous process and this more than says that what was decided by the previous Congress Government cannot be rolled back.
The collision course seems to have been charted out and it will be interesting to see how the Government and the UNC proceed with the tripartite talks and how the Centre responds to the situation.
The question upper most in the minds of the people must, now what ?
Will Manipur see a repeat of 2016 when the National Highways were blocked and tension ran high all over, with some groups in the valley area also resorting to a counter blockade ?
Not at all a comfortable thought and it was amid the high tension days that the BJP managed to cobble up a coalition Government and dethrone the Congress which had enjoyed three successive terms in office here.
To the credit of N Biren, he has managed to reach out to the hill people but this still has not been enough for the UNC to take a fresh look at its stand.
Obviously the point that districts are created for administrative convenience and not for any particular community has failed to cut ice.
The fact that Nagaland, a geographically smaller State, has 11 districts compared to the then 9 districts of Manipur has also failed to convince the UNC.
It is here that the BJP Government should capitalise on the new found good rapport with the people of the hill districts.
The BJP has already done the right thing in joining hands with the Naga People’s Front in forming the coalition Government and it will help if the assistance of the NPF is sought to discuss the matter with the UNC.
Likewise the Naga civil society organisations may be taken on board to ensure that nothing rocks the boat, the boat of confidence and trust that is amply visible during the Hill People’s (Leaders’ Day) Day organised on the 10th of every month with the Chief Minister himself taking the lead in getting a first hand account of the cases brought forth by the people from the hill districts.
It is not for nothing that the BJP led Government has put forth the plan to construct all women markets in the hill district headquarters and these are points which the UNC should not overlook.
The people have suffered enough and while it was the more than 100 days economic blockade imposed by the UNC from November last year, it was the same thing when the Sadar Hills District Demand Committee imposed the more than 100 days economic blockade sometime in 2011.
Manipur has been at the receiving end of the politics of blockade for too long now and this is a point which the UNC should not overlook in the next round of the tripartite talks.
Source: The Sangai Express