Imphal: Anticipating a final solution to the Naga peace talk this month (September), the Coordination Committee on Manipur Integrity (COCOMI) has urged people of the State to remain vigilant and united. “The final solution to the peace talk should remain well within the boundary of Nagaland. If the final solution is likely to affect the State’s interest, people of Manipur should be invited and recognised as one of the parties of the peace talk,” said COCOMI in a statement today.
The nearly 23 years long talk had reached a milestone when the NSCN(IM) and other groups involved signed the Framework Agreement with the Government of India on August 3, 2015. However when the decades long talk is nearing a possible end, recently a rift has emerged among the various groups engaged. With the NSCN (IM) batting for integration of all Naga inhabited regions, the people of Assam, Manipur and Arunachal Pradesh, which are not signatories to the Framework Agreement, have been apprehensive about the impacts the final solution would have. And as such, the people of Manipur have since been demanding full disclosure of the Framework Agreement, said COCOMI.
As the talk has dragged on and passed the 2019 October 31 and August 15, 2020 deadlines for a final solution, the PMO office has now stated that a final accord may be signed in September. Many of the groups involved in the talk have also called for a final solution and they have submitted many memoranda to Prime Minister Narendra Modi for an accord “with or without” the NSCN(IM), added COCOMI.
The people of Manipur have no objection to the peace talk reaching a solution. An accord to settle the vexed issue is welcome, however, the final solution should remain well within the boundary of Nagaland, said COCOMI.
Asserting that the final solution must not interfere and affect the relationship between Manipur and her neighbouring States, COCOMI reminded the Government of India that it had agreed to respect its demands in November 2019.
On November 25, 2019 in New Delhi, a delegation including COCOMI representatives, Chief Minister N Biren Singh and Education Minister Radheshyam had met Union Home Minister Amit Shah. During the meeting, Amit Shah had agreed to “inform and invite people of Manipur if the talk is proceeding against the assurances given to COCOMI and the delegation.” Chief Minister N Biren Singh, Education Minister Th Radheshyam and Minister of State Home Affairs, G Kishan Reddy also heard Amit Shah (assurance) and witnessed the consensus reached in the meeting.
COCOMI had clearly rejected any pan Naga cultural body/provincial/territorial council and administrative arrangement/division or administrative setup on ethnic lines. It had also told the Union Minister that the “Naga flag”, if approved and allowed, should be used only in the State of Nagaland. COCOMI had also rejected any body or setup which may bypass or undermine the Manipur State Legislative Assembly, it said.
The Centre should keep its assurance and invite the State CSOs if the talk is heading against the interest of the people of Manipur. Till today, the Government of India has not invited the CSOs. Inviting the CSOs after reaching a final solution would have no meaning. If the anticipated solution is likely to affect the people of Manipur, the Government of India should recognise and involve the people of the State as one of the peace talk parties. Government of India representatives should visit the State and hold talks with the people before the accord is reached, said COCOMI.
On the other hand, the NSCN(IM) has made public the Framework Agreement recently. However, the Government has not yet said a word on it and is yet to acknowledge the FA released by the NSCN(IM) is whether real or true. If the FA released by the NSCN(IM) is true, then the Government of India must acknowledge it officially.
If the Government of India doesn’t disclose the FA officially and if it works forcibly against the interests of the people of Manipur, then it would mean the Centre is disrespecting and disregarding the State Government.
“If the Centre works against the interests of the people, disrespecting the Manipur Government, then the State Government should also take up appropriate steps against the Centre to save the State. We must remain vigilant and united to face any adversary and agenda that threatens the interests and integrity of the State,” said COCOMI.