Post deal, extortion by Naga rebels should end: Manipur parties seek guarantee from Centre

In this October 30, 2019 picture, a poster with a Naga flag is seen on the entrance of a shop in Kohima, Nagaland.

In this October 30, 2019 picture, a poster with a Naga flag is seen on the entrance of a shop in Kohima, Nagaland.   | Photo Credit: AP

Manipur parties list five concerns

The political parties of Manipur have sought a guarantee from the Centre that the settlement of the Naga peace process would signal the end of “extortions and illegal taxations by Naga insurgents”.

The final peace deal, expected to be announced soon, is between the Centre and the Isak-Muivah faction of the National Socialist Council of Nagaland (NSCN-IM) and seven rival outfits who formed the umbrella Naga National Political Groups.

Joint memorandum

In a joint memorandum to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, 15 political parties of Manipur, including the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party and the Opposition Congress, listed five concerns about the deal.

Topping the list was the guarantee that “any final peace accord should not compromise in any way the territorial, administrative and political integrity of Manipur”.

This concern is based on the NSCN-IM’s vision of Nagalim, a self-administered homeland comprising all Naga-inhabited areas of the northeast.

Arunachal Pradesh and Assam stand to lose large swathes of land if such a homeland is acceded to, but it will impact Manipur the most.

“The geopolitical conditions of Manipur — 92% hills and 8% valley — scarcely warrants any administrative dispensation which will fracture the existing composite administrative and political set-up as such a dispensation would not be viable,” the parties said in the memorandum.

The parties also elaborated on how Manipur has been “at the receiving end of illegal taxation and extortion from Naga insurgent groups, particularly NSCN-IM” since the inception of the “Indo-Naga confrontation”.

The extortion intensified after the truce (1997) and talks with the Centre in a “semi-legal way under the cover of ceasefire”, they said.

Seeking compensation

“Manipur State has suffered the loss of thousands of crores of rupees spreading over a period of more than 50 years. GoI (Government of India) needs serious consideration of compensating adequately to the State of Manipur for the same. Further, GOI should also guarantee that such extortions and illegal taxations by the Naga insurgents on Manipur-bound vehicles shall not be allowed in the future,” the memorandum said.

Manipur relies heavily on two national highways — one from Dimapur in Nagaland and the other from Silchar in southern Assam — for essentials. These highways pass through Naga-inhabited hill districts before reaching State capital Imphal.

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Printable version | Apr 3, 2020 10:20:11 PM |

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