Of ST demand, ILP, peace talk : Take everyone along


ST status demand for the Meiteis, spearheaded by the Scheduled Tribe Demand Committee, Manipur.

The voices of opposition against it, from the hills spearheaded by the All Tribal Students’ Union, Manipur (ATSUM) as well as those opposed to the demand from amongst the Meitei community led by the Protection and Preservation Committee, Manipur (PPCM), All Manipur Students’ Union, Manipur (AMSU) and others.

The raging debate between the votaries of the demand and those against it in The Sangai Express, that has been going on for quite some time now.

The demand that a mechanism similar to the Inner Line Permit System be enforced to regulate the inflow of non-local people into the State of Manipur and the uproar that was witnessed in Churachandpur when three Bills towards this end were passed by the State Assembly on August 31, 2015.

The ongoing dialogue between the Government of India and the NSCN (IM) plus the inking of the Framework Agreement in 2015, which appears to be in its final stage.

More than obvious that it is now not only the NSCN (IM) which is on board the talk process with the Government of India but also other groups, such as the NNPGs, which have joined the talk best exemplified by the recent visit of Interlocutor to the peace talk, RN Ravi to Nagaland some time back.

These are the issues which one can expect to grab the attention of the people anytime in the coming days and surely the position must be uncomfortable for Chief Minister N Biren and the BJP led coalition Government.

Just 8 months in office and the test by fire for the new Government may start anytime in the near future and this is where the tricky part lies.

Central to all the issues which have been pointed out is the deep divide between the people of the hills and the valley.

If the ST demand for the Meiteis has been opposed by some section of the Meitei people, the hill people too seem to have jumped onto the bandwagon of opposing this demand.

It is the same with the demand to pass a Bill to regulate the inflow of non-local people into the State.

The three Bills passed in 2015 stand testimony to this.

It was only after the BJP led Government came to power that the mortal remains of eight of the nine people killed in the Churachandpur uproar were finally put to rest.

The ongoing dialogue between the NSCN (IM) and the Government of India is yet another case which will test the new BJP led coalition Government.

As Prime Minister Narendra Modi himself assured, the territorial integrity of Manipur may remain intact, but what if some administrative mechanism is worked out whereby the Naga inhabited areas are administered in such a way that it literally does not come under the Government of Manipur ?

Will this be acceptable to Manipur ?

Much will depend on how such a model, if at all there is such a model, is worked out, but herein lies the important point that it is not only the Naga people and those directly involved in the dialogue that need to be taken along but also others, such as the people of Manipur, particularly the Meiteis.

Source: The Sangai Express


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