Manipur News

Manipur CM Camping in Delhi to Underline His Govt’s Stance on Naga Accord

New Delhi: Manipur chief minister N. Biren, accompanied by cabinet colleagues, MLAs and state BJP president Ksh Bhabananda Singh, have been camping in New Delhi and holding meetings with senior national party leaders since this past July 14 to convey the state “government’s position” on the Naga Accord.

Though top party sources in Nagaland categorically denied having any information about the signing of the Accord, sources in BJP’s Manipur unit claimed, “There is a strong likelihood of the Accord being signed between the Central government and the NSCN (Isak-Muivah) before the monsoon session of parliament which is beginning on July 18.”   

“The Central government is keen to sign the Accord before the third anniversary of the Framework Agreement, signed with the National Socialist Council of Nagaland (Isak-Muivah) on August 3, 2015,” the sources said.

Till now, the chief minister and his entourage have met BJP national vice president in charge of the Northeast, Ram Madhav, Naga talks interlocutor S. Ravi, Union home minister Rajnath Singh and Union human resource and development minister Prakash Javdekar.

In a tweet on July 16, N. Biren said the delegation met Singh to submit “a joint memorandum” to express their viewpoints on the Framework Agreement. He told reporters in Delhi that the Centre should formally inform the Manipur assembly and the state government before taking any decision” on arriving at the Naga Accord.

Calling for “a peaceful solution”, the chief minister, though said the people of his state would not agree to any territorial or cultural council in the Naga areas of Manipur.

“If our voice is not heard, if the consent of the state assembly or of the people is not taken (into cognizance) and changes are made (post Naga talks) then we will be nowhere. Then automatically we will have to leave our posts,” he told ANI. 

As per speculations in the media, though the physical boundaries of Naga inhabited states would remain intact, there might be formation of a pan Naga cultural council in Assam, Nagaland, Manipur and Arunachal Pradesh.

An Imphal-based reporter told The Wire on condition of anonymity, “The entire cabinet and senior state BJP leaders going to Delhi suddenly to talk about Manipur’s interests is also being seen by some section of people here with suspicion. It could be an attempt by the state government and the party to divert attention from some sensitive issues rocking the state.”

One such issue is the strike at Manipur University that has been ongoing since May 30. The government is under severe pressure to seek the removal of vice chancellor Adya Prasad Pandey as a long list of allegations of administrative and financial misconduct have been levelled against him by the students’ body. Though the chief minister told reporters in Imphal that the VC would be asked to temporarily stay away from administrative work till an enquiry committee finishes its report within a month, the MHRD order on July 12 to constitute “a fact finding team” to look into the issue doesn’t mention it.

In Delhi, Biren and the delegation met HRD minister Javdekar and submitted a copy of the state cabinet’s suggestion to set up an enquiry committee to look into the allegations. 

The students’ union has already rejected the MHRD’s decision, stating that the VC “will have to go first” before the committee begins looking into the allegations against him.

Another rough patch the state government is undergoing is the controversy related to a border pillar on the India-Myanmar boundary. Though the villagers and the district authorities are of the opinion that the pillar has been brought three kms within Manipur’s boundary, the central government has denied it in a statement. This has not gone down well with the people of the state and some are accusing the chief minister and the state BJP leaders of keeping quiet when the state’s land is being given away to Myanmar.

Based on the Tengnoupal deputy commissioner Tombikanta’s report on June 22 that he refused to sign the papers given by the central government officials monitoring the ongoing subsidiary boundary pillar work stating the wrong positioning of the pillar no 81, the former chief minister and Congress legislature party chief Okram Ibobi Singh held a press conference in Imphal on July 9. He told reporters, “The boundary issue can be resolved only after conducting a re-survey and re-demarcation of India and Myanmar and it should involve all stakeholders including the state government and the people living along the border.”

Meanwhile, in a Facebook post, Erendro Leichombam of Peoples Resurgence and Justice Alliance (PRJA) posted the India-Myanmar Boundary Agreement of 1967 to state that it “clearly states that ‘thence (the boundary goes) in a northerly direction to Boundary Pillar no 81 located on the right bank of the Manjet Lok.”

Stating that Union home minister Kiren Rijiju’s recent statement on how there is no dispute on the boundary as “completely false”, he said, “There is encroachment by Myanmar in Manipur’s territory, most likely with government of India’s implicit consent.” 



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