Naga Hoho for talks between Meiteis, Nagas
KOHIMA, June 20 — Apex tribal council Naga Hoho on Monday favoured dialogue between the Meiteis and Nagas in Manipur and urged both to exercise maximum restraint in the wake of large-scale protest against Centre-NSCN(I-M) ceasefire extension without any territorial limits, reports PTI. Naga Hoho president M Vero in a statement here said the on-going protest and bandh in Manipur, spearheaded by All Manipur United Clubs Organisation (AMUCO) and All Manipur Students Union (AMSU), was against the “wishes of the Nagas and disregarded the sufferings and struggle for more than 50 years.” The apex Naga Council called upon the Meiteis and Nagas to usher in peace and to ensure that nothing comes in the way of “our age-old bond and fraternity that exist between the two communities.” “We welcome any dialogue amongst the Nagas and the Meiteis, as we sincerely believe that any misunderstanding arising out of unfounded apprehensions can be sorted out peacefully,” Hoho president said.
Manipuri Kukis oppose ceasefire tooth and nail
IMPHAL, June 20 (PTI): Several Naga and Kuki organizations today strongly opposed the extension of Centre-NSCN(I-M) ceasefire to Manipur describing it as an attempt to divide the people of the hills and valley in the State.
Demanding immediate retraction of ceasefire from Manipur, Kakhulong Youth Committee and Kakhulong Women’s Society (two Naga organizations) in a joint statement said the ceasefire was an attempt to drive a wedge between people in the hills and valley.
It said no amount of attempt to create a gap between the two people who had been living side by side since time immemorial would succeed in separating the two and demanded immediate withdrawal of the ceasefire.
Several other Naga organizations including, Majorkhul Young Association, Dimdimdajang Kabui Khul, Khoupum Kabui Group, etc said in separate statements that nobody could alter the relations between plain and hill people in Manipur and demanded immediate withdrawal of ceasefire from the State. The secretary of the Majorkhul Young Association Kh. Golmei also condemned the killings of 13 persons and added that the association would support all democratic movements against ceasefire.
"We will protect the territorial integrity of Manipur," said the Naga Association’s secretary.
The Manipuri Nepali Women’s Association in a statement strongly condemned the killings and opposed the extension of ceasefire to Manipur.
The Kuki Students Organization (KSO) in a statement said it supported the movements for protection of Manipur territory and added that the KSO would work for bringing total integrity in the State.
In another statement, the Gangte Tribe Union (another Kuki group) condemned the Centre for its ‘utter disregard’ for the people and their opinion and aspirations.
The Kuki National Assembly (KNA) said it strongly opposed the extension of Centre-NSCN(I-M) ceasefire to Manipur territory. In a statement, KNA president T. Haokip said Central leaders should know that various communities were living in Manipur.
Demanding immediate withdrawal of the ceasefire, Haokip said the Centre should not create and encourage ethnic tension in a sensitive State like Manipur.
Over hundred social organizations, including women’s groups, youths organizations and others in the valley in separate statements said they would launch a series of agitations till the withdrawal of ceasefire from Manipur.
Manipur hysteria basically due to Centre’s bungling
From our Staff Correspondent
DIMAPUR, June 20: The mass hysteria in Imphal valley over the broadening of the ambit of the ceasefire with the NSCN (I-M) could have been averted had the Centre been more pragmatic in its approach to the issue from the very beginning. By sitting on the issue for five crucial years, the Centre only helped in politicizing the issue, and creating apprehension, particularly in Manipur, about the ultimate fallout in the eventuality of truce being extended to other Naga-inhabited areas.
Various statements made by the Union Home Ministry officials and even some BJP leaders, particularly Mr P B Acharya, the party’s North-East in-charge, about the threat to the territorial integrity of Manipur and other north-eastern states, where there are sizeable number of Naga people only helped deepen people’s apprehension in Manipur and other neighbouring states.
Hence, when the truce was extended in all the areas including the Naga-inhabited areas, the hitherto murmuring protest in Imphal valley erupted in volcanic proportion. The Civil Secretariat, the Assembly Secretariat, offices of various political parties, and the residents of some elected representatives were torched by an angry mob in Imphal on June 18.
Altogether 13 people, mostly students, were killed and several others were injured when police tried to bring the situation under control. In 1998, when the Prime Minister’s interlocutor for the peace process, Mr Swaraj Kausal, while trying to clarify the ceasefire jurisdiction, went on record to say that the ceasefire has no territorial jurisdiction and that it extends even up to Paris; his remark was received without any hostility in any part of the country, least of all in Manipur. Even in 1964, when the Government of India entered into a ceasefire with the Naga National Council (NNC) headed by A Z Phizo, which covered the entire Naga-inhabited areas, there was no protest then too. But this time, the extension has evoked sharp reaction as the spate of statements, which followed after Mr Kausal’s remark, had vitiated the atmosphere and prepared ground for the unfortunate development Imphal valley is witnessing today. It was the politicians and the Home Ministry officials, who always tried to club the issue of extension of truce beyond the boundary of Nagaland with the NSCN (IM)’s demand for creation of a greater Nagalim. By doing so, they let the debate on the issue to start from the wrong end of the road. The issue of greater Nagalim will certainly be the basis of any political dialogue, the Government of India will have with the NSCN (IM). But in no way, the extension of the truce legitimizes their demand for a greater Nagalim at this juncture, more so as the truce is not confined to the Naga- inhabited areas alone. The protesters who are in a rampaging mood in Imphal valley might also know this. But the whole problem is that a situation has been created whereby the extension of the ceasefire is viewed as conceding to the demand of the NSCN (IM) rather than following a natural course. The fact that the Centre has extended the truce, after dilly-dallying for five crucial years, and that too only after the NSCN (IM) had threatened to call off the ceasefire, has further lent credence, rightly or wrongly, to the contention. Now, that the situation has flared up in Manipur, the Congress party has demanded of the Centre to reconsider its decision for extension of the ceasefire. Such demand would not help in dousing the situation, rather it would add to the confusion. Any move to reconsider the declaration could again blow up mass hysteria in Naga-inhabited areas of Manipur. The Centre should now utilize its machinery and try to clarify to the people about its stand on the extension of the truce. Unfortunately, again, even as Manipur is burning neither any Central team has so far visited the State to take stock of the situation nor the Centre made any attempt to hold any negotiation with the agitators.
NSCN-K lauds extension of truce area beyond Nagaland
STATESMAN NEWS SERVICE
GUWAHATI, June 20. – The Khaplang faction of the National Socialist Council of Nagaland today lauded the Centre’s decision to extend the area of ceasefire with the NSCN (I-M) to all Naga-inhabited areas and said that all Nagas should live together as one “sovereign nation.”
The deputy minister of information and publicity of ‘Government of People’s Republic of Nagaland’ (of the NSCN -K), Mr K Mulatonu, told The Statesman from somewhere in Nagaland today that extension of the ceasefire jurisdiction to all Naga-inhabited areas should not cause difficulties to any other community.
“The matter concerns only the Nagas. If the Nagas want to live together as a sovereign nation under one umbrella then others should have no objection to it,” Mr Mulatonu said. He said that in Manipur it was only the Meiteis who were creating trouble over the ceasefire extension into that state and the Nagas living there were not involved. “Our Meitei brothers should not misunderstand the desire of the Nagas to live as one,” he said.
The NSCN (I-M) and NSCN (K) have been at each other’s throats for years but both the groups have the same demand of a ’greater Nagaland’, which comprises some parts of Assam, Manipur, Arunachal Pradesh besides the present state of Nagaland. The Nagaland Assembly, too, had adopted three official resolutions in the past favouring integration of all Naga-inhabited areas.
The NSCN (K) leader said it would soon formalise the area of ceasefire coverage with the Centre now that an agreement has been reached between Delhi and NSCN (I-M). “The Centre had told us at the time of declaring the ceasefire that its area of coverage would be the same as that with the NSCN (I-M),” Mr Mulatonu said.