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Lim And July 1 Stand

The fact that three Ministers of the SPF Government, namely IFCD Minister N Biren, PHED Minister TN Haokip and TD Minister DD Thaisii stayed away from the tripartite talks held at Senapati district headquarters on December 3, is pregnant with meaning and while everyone knows that the decision to sever all ties with the Government of Manipur was taken during a meeting of the Naga People’s Convention on July 1, 2010, no one seems to really understand the factors or reasons behind adopting such a radical decision.

Apart from the strong anti-Meitei sentiments or thoughts reflected and said in the decision, the other obvious point, though mentioned overtly or audibly enough was the decision of the SPF Government to bar the entry of Th Muivah to his birth place in Somdal in the early part of May this year.  The follow up action such as the ruling of the High Court to declare the ANSAM and UNC Presidents as Wanted men in the wake of their refusal to appear before the Court following a PIL, demand for a Judicial Inquiry into the May 3 Mao incident in which two students were killed in police firing, withdrawal of all State forces from Senapati district have been referred to as a tactical ploy devised by the SPF Government to disturb the peace in Naga inhabited areas and to silence their democratic voice of dissent.

The one and only and should we extremely mischievous foundation on which the Senapati Declaration by the Naga People’s Convention was adopted on July 1 this year is the Meitei bashing exercise as well as the attempt to portray the SPF Government as a Meitei centric regime with no interest for the welfare of the tribals. Keen observers of the new development must have noticed that during the meeting held at Senapati district headquarters on December 3, there was no mention of Nagalim or a Greater Lim and this will leave no one in doubt that it was a political decision taken at the highest level.

The UNC leaders present at the tripartite talks explained what the Nagas meant by an Alternative Arrangement, which is carving out a Union Territory from the Naga inhabited areas of Manipur or Statehood for the Nagas of Manipur. This is one step down from the Greater Lim demand and many, many steps down from sovereignty, for which the guns first starting booming in the hills of Nagaland and later in Manipur. Mr. Muivah did not trek all the way to China with dreams of a Greater Lim but with the idea of sovereignty though the Lim idea may have just started germinating inside the thought processes of quite a large number of prominent Naga personalities in Manipur.

To really understand the tripartite talk as well as the decision of the Naga People’s Convention to sever all ties with the Government of Manipur, one cannot delink it from the demand of a Greater Nagalim. The United Naga Council, presently engaged in the tripartite talk, may deny this or even rubbish it, but there is no way that the public can be taken for a ride with some denial or disguising the larger agenda under some different names. The truth has to be faced, guided by the ground reality or else, Manipur or its people, irrespective of communal or ethnic affiliations will continue to be caught in the web of self denial.

A judicial inquiry into the circumstances that led to the death of two students at Mao on May 3 this year, is the best option to exorcise the ghost of that day and provide the right direction towards a logical conclusion, which is, justice should be delivered. May the souls of the two students rest in peace. Here it is also important to realize and acknowledge the fact that the State Government had no hand in announcing the wanted tag on the presidents of the UNC and ANSAM. The wanted tags came following a PIL filed with the Imphal Bench of the Gauhati High Court and it was the order of the Court, which the State police had to follow.

The demand to withdraw all State forces from Naga inhabited areas can be viewed and understood from different angles and people’s perception of this issue will largely depend on which ground one is standing. To some, this demand may be seen as being grossly anti-Manipur and hence in a sense communal, since the Government of Manipur has already been dubbed a Meitei centric Government, trampling the rights of the tribal people. On the other hand, it also stands true that the State forces, especially its crack team of police commandos and the IRB men have done everything to lose the trust and goodwill of the people of Manipur. If an act as audacious as the one can be enacted at BT Road on July 23, 2009, in broad daylight, we may well imagine what they are capable of doing in some remote areas.

The demand to remove the State forces should also ideally serve as the opportunity for the police top brass to go in for some serious self introspection. No voices of dissent or disgruntlement can come with any reason, but the need is to see, how rational it is or whether the dissent is based on the propaganda spread by some with an ulterior motive. The people of Senapati may feel genuinely aggrieved but at the same time they also need to sincerely question themselves whether their response or reaction is proportionate to what happened at Mao or the stationing of State forces, whose credentials are increasingly coming under the microscopic surveillance of the people.

Or was the July 1, 2010, decision adopted as another contingency plan to realize the creation of a Greater Lim, for ultimately the said decision and the demand for a Greater Lim are two sides of the same coin and is tied together by the thread of the rabidly anti-Manipur or anti-Meitei imaginations.

(Courtesy: The Sangai Express)

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