What next?

Witoubou Newmai


The ongoing sociopolitical churning witnesses a watershed in the State of Manipur after the United Naga Council (UNC) asked the Naga legislators, irrespective of political party affiliations, to stay away from the December 18 ‘special assembly session’. This assembly session is to be convened on the ‘Naga peace talks’.

The specific reason for the move of the UNC asking the Naga legislators not to participate the 'special assembly session' is not known.

There are altogether 10 Naga legislators, hailing from different political parties, in the current Manipur Legislative Assembly.

What appeals keen observers of the situation is how the seemingly defiant BJP led Manipur Government succumbing to the pressure of the civil society organizations based in the valley to have this ‘special assembly session’ on the ‘Naga peace talks’. In fact, Coordination Committee on Manipur Integrity (COCOMI) continues to demand that ‘special assembly session’ is convened by December 10.

All this while, the UNC chose not to response to the assertions of the valley based organizations. The November 29, 2019 ‘public convention’ resolutions of the valley based organizations under the banner of COCOMI seemed to have irked the Naga body. One of the resolutions of that ‘public convention’ says that they “will oppose creation of any kind of autonomous territorial council based on ethnic lines as a consequence of the Naga peace talks”.

Another resolution of that ‘public convention’ reads: “The issue of ethnic harmony and administrative setup for the inclusive benefit of the people of Manipur shall not be decided by the Government of India or a section of Manipuri society but by mutual discussion among the various communities residing in the State”.

In a way of responding to these particular resolutions of COCOMI, the UNC held a meeting on December 3 and observed that those resolutions “are unfortunate and also irresponsible, unwarranted and uncalled for at this point of time”. The UNC meeting also felt that "any kind of benefit to the Naga people” has been opposed all along by valley people.

Following these observations, the UNC meeting of December 3 also took a resolution to hold rallies simultaneously “in the four Naga district headquarters” on December 17, i.e. on the eve of the ‘special assembly session’, “in support for early final settlement of Indo-Naga peace accord”.

 Now, what next for the UNC and the COCOMI after December 18?

As such assertions from ‘both the divides’ continue to acquire a sort of mass character in the State of Manipur, polarization of the situation will accelerate. Unless a good office volunteers to moderate the situation everything will continue to appear bleak.