Last Sunday, the United Naga Council (UNC) had called off the 139-day-long blockade of the state’s two national highways, after talks with representatives from the state and Centre and a day ahead of Chief Minister N Biren’s crucial floor test to prove his majority in the Manipur assembly. This must be a good news but it has raised more questions than answers.
For instance, what is the real position of the Government of Manipur in the negotiated matter? What are the principles and political positions that the GoM uses as the terms of reference in its negotiations with the UNC on the matter? Does it reflect the constitutional/legal imperatives of the rule of law? Does it register the suffering of the people due to such blockades of the highways? How does it accommodated the grievances and aspirations of the UNC? Does it address the root cause of the crisis?
The reports have raised as well multiple viewpoints on what the indications of this development are; but it is quite an irony that nothing has been mentioned, for example, about the hardships faced by the people in both the hills and the valley when the blockade was in place. Nevertheless, the resolution of the blockade-breaking talks is all over Facebook and Twitter. See the following reported draft.
First of all, note the difference in the reported draft of the tripartite talk above and the alternative draft below.
Given the political and legal issues, things/postures we have heard and seen on TV and media, and going beyond the knee-jerk reaction to specific episodes, a government committed to the law of the land would have worked for an agreement like this alternative draft to the one which was signed on 19 March, 2017. We believe that we should reflect on this alternative draft, which takes into account the grievances of UNC and imperatives of ensuring a lawful society and polity. Even though the agreement has been signed now, we also believe that deliberations and discussions will enhance our understanding of the issues and challenges at hand.