Much to the chagrin of the Nagas, the tripartite talks on the district creation issue virtually got over after the Biren Singh Government dismantled the tenets of holding dialogues on the issue.
After about 15 days of the Manipur Chief Minister’s comment that “there is no rolling back of new districts,” as reported in the media, the State Government of Manipur announced the constitution of a boundary commission to demarcate the boundaries of the newly created “revenue districts.” All these moves of the Manipur Government have come even as the tripartite talks are going on. Such acts are akin to declaration of school results by the authority while an examination is still underway. And thus, the examination is invalidated.
On March 19, 2017, the United Naga Council (UNC) lifted the 139-day economic blockade imposed on national highways after the Manipur Government “recognised the grievances” of the UNC.
According to the terms of agreement of the March 19 talks on the issue, “the grievances of the UNC which led to the imposition of the economic blockade by them was recognized as there was non-adherence to the four Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) and the Government of India’s assurance on the matter.” Two months down the line on May 19, the March 19 agreement was reaffirmed by the parties involved in the tripartite talks.
After all these affairs of bonhomie, the Manipur Government has gone back on its words on the agreement. It can also be noted here that the March 19, 2017, agreement had not only created a situation for the UNC to suspend its agitation, but it had also given room to start dialogues on the issue.
On the other hand, the Naga People’s Front (NPF) is part of the Biren Singh Government. The NPF was officially backed by the UNC in the last assembly election of Manipur (2017). Now, what does it say of the situation when the Naga legislators chose to remain silent on the issue? Or, are there some ‘higher’ political or diplomatic reasons for the Naga legislators’ silence on the measures engaged by the Biren Singh Government? The so called high diplomacy or sophisticated strategies, if not understood by the masses on time, will definitely impede the way forward to peace.
We have witnessed a disturbing state of affairs through all this. Contrary to the impression fostered in the initial stages, the State Government of Manipur, while attempting to address problems, lost the chance to earn the trust of the people. This was due to its insensitivity to feel, and respond to, the pulse of the people. And thus, labyrinthine issues germinated from the poor handling of the situation by the State Government of Manipur.
It is high time the State Government of Manipur realizes its misleading rhetoric about peace. Peace which is brought about sans principles is ‘unmoored’ peace.