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Withdrawal And Its Aftermath

It is heartwarming to know that the Ceasefire will not be extended to Manipur and other areas. The status quo before the July 14 Bangkok deal will be back in place. The issue now is what transpired between the Government of India and the NSCN (IM) at their follow-up talks at Amsterdam. It is imperative that both Parties make it a point to let transparency be the hallmark of this Peace Process. It is such a necessity in a democratic society.
Since we are not sure as to what took place at Amsterdam, we can mull on a few options.
In the first place, the Official Ceasefire will be effective on in Nagaland State. The other areas where the NSCN (IM) also operates will be under what is termed the Unofficial Ceasefire, where the Security Forces and the NSCN (IM) cadres would not be attacking each other. And this is great for the simple reason that this ought to have been the kind of agreement from the very beginning, until the Bangkok deal came through with words such as ‘without territorial limits’ and ‘beyond Nagaland’ injected into the minds of the people. It would indicate the political maturity of the NSCN (IM) leadership if they realize that “Peace for Nagaland Only” is not good enough.
Secondly, as some reports suggested, the NSCN (IM) might have asked for autonomy of Naga-inhabited areas in other States. This is another issue that could bring trouble again. The Government of India needs to know that there are no ‘only Naga-inhabited areas’ in Manipur.
The Hills have other Communities residing there, most notably the Kukis. If any autonomy related issue comes up, that would be another cause for a Hill-Valley Divide. What need to be worked on are issues that are aimed at Integration and nothing else. The government and the people must have realized at this point of time that hardly anything was done in this direction.
Thirdly, as we are awaiting the full import of the Amsterdam Agreement, we have to make sure what an ‘Unofficial Ceasefire’ really means. Does it mean end of extortion on the National Highways? Does it mean end of Harassment of the Truck Drivers in Nagaland? Extortions will continue on NH39 especially and with every incident the NSCN (IM) would deny any involvement. This has been the scenario pretty much.
It can be felt by one and all residing in Manipur that having our lifeline pass through Nagaland amounts to a lack of wisdom for reasons that need no mention. Therefore, the development of NH53 is of utmost importance and the Organizations spearheading this present protests should place this as one of their top agenda. The development and full commercial use of NH53 has many benefits and we will leave that for another discussion.
Fourthly, since we have been talking ‘Integration’ here, what exactly does that mean? For one, I feel that we need to look at the issue of Land Reforms, but from different perspectives. The fact that the Valley People have no right to own land in the Hills will forever remain a thorn in Hill-Valley relationship and this will be taken advantage of time and again whenever the need arises. It is time for the people of Manipur to feel that Manipur irrespective of the hills or the valley, the land belongs to all of them. Many will not buy this scenario, but if we desire integration and prevent any further eruptions of ‘Nagalim’ type scenarios, then what we have at present is a weakness and could prove detrimental to the future of Manipur.

Withdrawal And Its Aftermath
It is heartwarming to know that the Ceasefire will not be extended to Manipur and other areas. The status quo before the July 14 Bangkok deal will be back in place. The issue now is what transpired between the Government of India and the NSCN (IM) at their follow-up talks at Amsterdam. It is imperative that both Parties make it a point to let transparency be the hallmark of this Peace Process. It is such a necessity in a democratic society.
Since we are not sure as to what took place at Amsterdam, we can mull on a few options.
In the first place, the Official Ceasefire will be effective on in Nagaland State. The other areas where the NSCN (IM) also operates will be under what is termed the Unofficial Ceasefire, where the Security Forces and the NSCN (IM) cadres would not be attacking each other. And this is great for the simple reason that this ought to have been the kind of agreement from the very beginning, until the Bangkok deal came through with words such as ‘without territorial limits’ and ‘beyond Nagaland’ injected into the minds of the people. It would indicate the political maturity of the NSCN (IM) leadership if they realize that “Peace for Nagaland Only” is not good enough.
Secondly, as some reports suggested, the NSCN (IM) might have asked for autonomy of Naga-inhabited areas in other States. This is another issue that could bring trouble again. The Government of India needs to know that there are no ‘only Naga-inhabited areas’ in Manipur.
The Hills have other Communities residing there, most notably the Kukis. If any autonomy related issue comes up, that would be another cause for a Hill-Valley Divide. What need to be worked on are issues that are aimed at Integration and nothing else. The government and the people must have realized at this point of time that hardly anything was done in this direction.
Thirdly, as we are awaiting the full import of the Amsterdam Agreement, we have to make sure what an ‘Unofficial Ceasefire’ really means. Does it mean end of extortion on the National Highways? Does it mean end of Harassment of the Truck Drivers in Nagaland? Extortions will continue on NH39 especially and with every incident the NSCN (IM) would deny any involvement. This has been the scenario pretty much.
It can be felt by one and all residing in Manipur that having our lifeline pass through Nagaland amounts to a lack of wisdom for reasons that need no mention. Therefore, the development of NH53 is of utmost importance and the Organizations spearheading this present protests should place this as one of their top agenda. The development and full commercial use of NH53 has many benefits and we will leave that for another discussion.
Fourthly, since we have been talking ‘Integration’ here, what exactly does that mean? For one, I feel that we need to look at the issue of Land Reforms, but from different perspectives. The fact that the Valley People have no right to own land in the Hills will forever remain a thorn in Hill-Valley relationship and this will be taken advantage of time and again whenever the need arises. It is time for the people of Manipur to feel that Manipur irrespective of the hills or the valley, the land belongs to all of them. Many will not buy this scenario, but if we desire integration and prevent any further eruptions of ‘Nagalim’ type scenarios, then what we have at present is a weakness and could prove detrimental to the future of Manipur.

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