The spokesman of the Government of Manipur(GoM), Minister N. Biren has magnanimously stated that UNC(United Naga Council) is a civil organization of the state and for which the GoM will hear and address their demands in the interest of the State. Well said. But in the very next breath he interprets the democratic process of tripartite talk of the Government of Manipur(GoM), Government of India(GoI) and the UNC on the demand for Alternative Arrangement as a bipartite talk and not a tripartite one as the GoI is only an observer.
What Minister Biren interprets now according to the convenience of the GoM cannot change the fact that the tripartite talk was initiated by the Hon’ble Union Home Minister and not because the UNC desired it. The tripartite talk, it may be noted is now in its 3rd round, with the first having taken place on 21st September, 2010 at Delhi and the second on the 3rd December, 2010 at Senapati. The invitation of the GoM to UNC for a round table talk on 3rd August, 2010 and also invitation for talk with a ministerial team of GoM on the 7th August, 2010 was rejected as the Nagas in Manipur had declared severance of political ties with the GoM. Let it be clear that there can be no bipartite talk between the GoM and the UNC.
In the talk earlier scheduled for the 30th of May, 2011 the GOM had announced a ministerial team to represent it just as it was also given out officially in respect of the 3rd December, 2010 tripartite talk held at Tahamzam(Senapati). The former was unceremoniously deferred and the latter saw the GoM represented only by the Chief Secretary and Senior bureaucrats. This time around, for the 30th June, 2011 which is yet to be officially confirmed by the GoI, the GOM Cabinet has decided that the Chief Secretary and the Home Commissioner would represent the GoM.
Therefore the moot point is why is the GoM shying away from the tripartite talk? Is it really concerned about the territorial integrity of Manipur State? If so, are the Chief Secretary and Senior bureaucrats being empowered to take political position in the tripartite talk ? Or does it mean that the GoM has nothing material to respond to the Memorandum of the UNC demand which is now in the public domain and the Chief Secretary and Senior bureaucrats being sent again, as in the tripartite talk of 3rd December, 2010 just to state that the territorial integrity of Manipur cannot be disturbed, which is an unconstitutional position.
The press statement reported in the 22nd June, 2011 edition of a Dimapur based paper, purported to have been issued by a fictitious group “Naga Crusader” asking Meities to leave the hills of Manipur is highly suspect. That there is grave potential for communal confrontation and violence in Manipur is a fact and it has been like that for quite some time. But using such dirty and dangerous tricks to derail the democratic process of dialogue speaks volume of those organizations and their paymasters, who are against the tripartite talk
The demand for an alternative arrangement outside the state of Manipur has no mysticism, veiled agenda or confusion and the Indian Constitution provides for alternative arrangements to accommodate the political aspirations of the people. It is the birthright of all people to have their rights to life, land and resources and their culture, customary practices and value system protected by law founded under democracy. And the movement for securing the Alternative Arrangement, which is totally legitimate, both morally and legally, must be supported by all right thinking persons, be they of the Imphal valley or of the tribal hills or those Nagas who till now have chosen to curry favour from the oppressive and communal GOM.
Senapati District H.Q., – 795106, Manipur
e-mail : nagavoices AT rediffmail.com