By Pradip Phanjoubam
NEW DELHI | Dec 13 : I am constrained to write this note because of the number of anxious inquiries I have been receiving throughout the day from different sections of the people in Manipur as well as media, including some based in New Delhi, about a meeting a group of people from Manipur, including me, who met with R.N. Ravi, the interlocutor of the Naga Peace talks, in New Delhi, today. This interest has been provoked, I understand, by reports in some sections of the media.
I do this so that people are not led to have an inflated opinion of the importance of the meeting, or unwarranted optimism or pessimism on the possible influence today’s meeting may have on the outcome of the peace process. IFP readers will notice I did not even disclose the information in my own newspaper because I did not think it was so newsworthy or deserving of attention, but from whatever their sources, the information apparently became available to some other newspapers.
We were indeed called upon for suggestions and feedbacks on how things should be taken forward on a matter which is sensitive but important. As in any such meetings, we were simply tasked to listen to each other in the hope that our mutual knowledge of the issue would enriched the general understanding of the problem and that there may come to be some illuminating light shed on the vexed issue in the course of these exchanges.
The interlocutor has been doing such consultations with many other groups routinely in Manipur and Nagaland ever since the Framework Agreement was signed more than two years ago, either whenever he visited these two states, and sometimes in Delhi when this was more convenient.
Our group happens to be just one in this exchange of ideas mechanism.
As to how this group came about, the late respected Prof. Gangmumei Kamei, is to be thanked for. According to Prof. Gangumei, when he approached me, he was asked by the interlocutor to recommend some names from the Meitei community whom he had confidence in to be part of this consultative process.
Prof. Gangmumei listed six names, but according to what he told me, one of them Dr. R.K. Nimai expressed his inability to be part of the group as he was then the advisor to the then government headed by chief minister Okram Ibobi.
Prof. Gangmumei then approached the rest in his list, which included Prof (retd) R.K. Ranjan, Prof. (retd) N. Joykumar, Prof. (retd) Ksh. Bimola and Prof. Amar Yumnam and me. It will be noticed that the late professor was either a close colleague or else the mentor of the names in this list.
The status of the Framework Agreement now seemingly is nothing more or less than what is already in the public domain – which is, it is still being worked on and nothing final has been reached yet.
These meetings are nothing close to recommendatory, and are more like people concerned with the issue opening up their minds to each other so that some way forward not detrimental to the interest of any of the stakeholders may result.
From the impression we have after today’s meeting, there has still not been any real breakthrough on how this matter should be resolved. We do hope there will be one someday soon which is acceptable to every stakeholder.
As readers of IFP will know, I have been writing on this issue consistently from my own assessment of the developments from time to time, and my opinions in these columns were also my feedback forwarded to the interlocutor, and the feedbacks from the other members of the group were all on similar lines.
Source: Imphal Free Press