Way forward to peace

By Witoubou Newmai

Following immense interests, trenchant observations and views on the Manipur district creation issue received by this writer from the southern Nagas, this column has been, time and again, dwelling on the particular issue.

Very often the readers start off their critical inquiries, asking as to why the district creation issue is becoming regressive and diminishing with time.
The issue is very important for the Nagas in the south and its resolution holds vital implication as the issue involves not just the creation of new districts per se, but there are several other political underpinnings around it.

Come January 25, 2019 the new team of the United Naga Council (UNC) will hold the next round of ‘Tripartite Talk’ on the district creation issue with the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA), Government of India and the State Government of Manipur in Tahamzam. This coming round of ‘Tripartite Talk’ will be the first for S Kho John as the UNC President. He became the UNC President on November 28, 2018.

Since September 1, 2018 there has been no talk on the issue.

The previous Government of Manipur had created seven new districts on December 8, 2016. In protest against that act of the Manipur Government, the UNC had imposed 139 days of economic blockade along the national highways which pass through Manipur. After the lifting of the blockade, the first round of talk was held on March 19, 2017 followed by several rounds of talk.

At the moment, Nagas in the south are closely observing as to how the new team of the United Naga Council (UNC) has been preparing to deal with the State Government of Manipur on the district creation issue when it comes for the next round of talk.

On March 19, 2017, the UNC and the State Government of Manipur signed an agreement that “the grievances of the United Naga Council which led to the imposition of the economic blockade by the former was recognized as there was non-adherence to the four Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) and the Government of India’s assurance on the matter.”

It can also be recalled here that, the Nagas had signed four Memorandums of Understanding (MoUs) with the State Government of Manipur, wherein the MoU of 1998 states that “resolution to the conflict on the issue of Sadar Hills will be brought about through a consensus of the peoples concerned in the interest of bringing about lasting peace and harmony…”

Given this background, the involving parties need to understand that the situation will definitely impede the way forward to peace, and so resolution of the issue becomes extremely important.