The possibility of the announcement of a Naga peace accord next week has led the administrations in Nagaland and Manipur to issue a series of orders that include one cautioning people from hoarding fuel and essential commodities.
The District Magistrate in Manipur’s Ukhrul issued an order on Friday asking the police to provide security to officials in the interest of securing “equitable distribution and fair prices” of essential commodities for a “period of 15 days”.
“Further, it is particularly instructed to all petroleum products/fuel outlets that they shall entertain customers as per their vehicle fuel tank requirements and shall not sell out fuel in barrels/containers,” the official ordered, additionally cautioning that no “price enhancements of any commodity will be allowed in the name of scarcity”.
On October 18, Naga interlocutor R.N. Ravi told The Hindu that the Naga peace process would conclude by October 31, adding that there would be no separate national flag or constitution for the Nagas .
He had also accused the National Socialist Council of Nagaland (Isak-Muivah) — one of the largest Naga groups with which the Centre had signed a framework agreement on August 3, 2015 — of delaying the talks to find a solution to the decades-old Naga issue.
Manipur’s police has called for additional forces from the Indian Reserve Battalions (IRB) to be rushed to the State.
The medical superintendent at the Regional Institute of Medical Sciences and Hospital in Imphal has also asked all medical staff to be ready to rush to duty whenever called.
The last leg of negotiations are being conducted in Delhi, even as a meeting with the NSCN-IM last week remained inconclusive . The interlocutor is expected to meet representatives of the six Naga National Political Groups (NNPGs) next week. In November 2017, Mr. Ravi had signed a preamble with the NNPGs to hold further discussions for finding a solution to the issue.
A member of the NNPGs told The Hindu that their negotiations with the Centre’s representative had been practical and that “both sides have exchanged their stand in writing”. “There is no point of putting a condition on each other,” said the Naga representative, speaking on condition of anonymity.
Senior NSCN-IM leader Hukavi Yeputhomi, who was negotiating on behalf of the group till October 24, joined the Working Committee of the NNPGs. In a public declaration, he asserted that the “geo-political situation demands the Nagas to be pragmatic and realistic in their negotiations with Government of India”. He added that the agreement signed in 2017 by the NNPGs safeguards Nagas’ right to self-determination and that “the unresolved contentious issues must be pursued earnestly post-solution, politically and democratically”.
Nagaland’s government had earlier warned government officials of disciplinary action if they were found “criticising policies and actions” of the State, by expressing their views in social media and making statements before the press.
The NSCN-IM has been fighting for ‘Greater Nagaland’ or Nagalim — it wants to extend Nagaland’s borders by including Naga-dominated areas in neighbouring Assam, Manipur and Arunachal Pradesh — to unite 1.2 million Nagas. The Centre has ruled out any disintegration of the States of Assam, Arunachal Pradesh and Manipur in order to merge the Naga-inhabited areas with the existing State of Nagaland.