Indo-Manipur Talks

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By Lt. Col. Laishram Lokendra Singh (Retd)

That there was a Kingdom of Manipur is a historical fact. That the said Kingdom came under the British suzerainty in 1894 is also a historical fact. That this kingdom with its territorial geographical boundary well defined as it exists today became an independent country for howsoever short a period of time it may be in 1947 when the British left Manipur is another irrefutable historical fact. That the then independent country of Manipur merged with the Indian Union in 1949 and became one of its states subsequently is a well documented and undeniable historical fact of today. However, this simple chronologically documented historical event is apparently being overshadowed by other so called unique history which challenges the very evidence of the existence of Manipur as a geographical and political entity.

Over the years the apparent writing on the wall is that the Govt. of India (GOI) perhaps in a bid to buy peace in the region has been relentlessly following a policy of appeasement of a particular ethnic group which has in effect aroused deep seated anger amongst the majority peace loving people of Manipur. And among other grievances this seemingly unfair treatment perhaps is also a factor to fuel a section of the majority people of the State to take to arms to right the perceived wrongs. And today this lot of people is termed as misguided people when they are not being called terrorists.

Kanglasha - Manipur ~ Dragon the National Emblem of Meiteis
Kanglasha – Manipur ~ Dragon the National Emblem of Meiteis. Acrylic on Cloth: Photo Credit : KanglaOnline

Also, going by the lexicon generally used in the media it is apparent that there is no conflict or conflict situation in Manipur; GOI terms the entire spectrum of the problem as merely a law and order problem created by MISCREANTS. Question thus arises as to why isn’t the IPC and related Acts not adequate to deal with the so called law and order problem; why is the Army being used on a day to day basis to deal with the law and order problem? Ironically the Armed Forces (Assam- Manipur) Special Powers Act, 1958 (AFSPA) has been there covering (almost) the entire state of Manipur for more than three decades now. It simply refuses to go away; neither the State nor Centre apparently is able to think beyond AFSPA and visualise a peaceful social set up without AFSPA.

The talk of the town has always been that the State Govt. is using the militancy environment to blame for their inept governance and corrupt ways and therefore it is not keen to solve militancy in Manipur; and as far as the Centre is concerned it does not make any difference how many people innocent or otherwise are killed or goes missing as people of the NE are lesser Indians and it is merely a matter of statistics. Further it also does not matter to them whichever way the State territorial boundary lines are drawn as long as the overall union territorial boundary is not threatened.

As per recent media reports perhaps the Centre is putting pressure on the State to begin the process of solving the present imbroglio, to start a dialogue with the so called

MISCREANTS (to improve the law and order situation?). The State seems to be in no hurry to do just that. The Centre must, however, be appreciated for the imitative even if it is too little too late. It is in this context that one would like to submit (to any body who is listening) that a conflict, armed or otherwise, cannot go on and on endlessly for eons together. At a point of time the conflicting parties must come to the negotiating table to settle the issue for the sake of the people for whom they are purportedly fighting (unless the situation is akin to that of the LTTE- Sri Lanka conflict where the LTTE was totally annihilated by Sri Lanka).

Indo – Pak talks are held from time to time. Likewise Indo – Naga talks have been carrying on for the last almost one and a half decades and God only knows what would be the outcome of this talk. Nonetheless, it is at this juncture that one would like to ask the people of Manipur whether or not the time is ripe for our so called MISCREANTS to come to the negotiating table and begin the process of Indo – Manipur talk. Who knows in the coming years there may not be an Ima Leibak Manipur as it exists today to fight for. Is anybody listening?

Comments on Indo – Manipur talks are solicited at lokendra_laishram{at}yahoo{dot}com

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