The headline in Indian Express on 24th August 2009 came as “Centre explores Ukhrul as Manipur’s Summer Capital”. “The centre is exploring the idea of making Naga-dominated Ukhrul the summer capital of Manipur – to send the message that the territorial integrity of the state is non-negotiable, and that the Meteis must accommodates the people of the hill districts” (Indian Express). I don’t know how far it will be possible to apply the same, “Jammu and Kashmir Model” in Manipur State – where Srinagar is the summer capital of Jammu and Kashmir. “The centre is keen to impress on the state government that the hill districts must be integrated with the Metei-dominated plains” (ibid).
It is reported in local dailies of Manipur and Nagaland that the Tangkhul Naga Long (TNL), the apex body of the Tangkhul Naga community presented an Eleven Points Charter of Demand for the development of Ukhrul district to Union Home Secretary Gopal Pillai, with signatories of TNL President Stephen Angkang and K Dickson, General secretary, and one of the point charters is to consider “Ukhrul as summer capital of Manipur”. It is also interesting to note that all the ten point charters have given the justification for their proposal and demand but not a single justification is mentioned in their proposal and demand – Ukhrul to be the summer capital of Manipur (Morung Express). For the interest of the Naga people, it would be very appreciable if TNL would give the justification that Ukhrul becoming as the summer capital of Manipur will not affect the aspiration and dreams of Naga people to have One Administrative Unit and Rights to self-determination in the future or they may revoke their proposal and demand. Then the concern Naga people may be free from all kinds of speculation and misunderstanding as they come to know the justifications.
The most interesting part of the reports in Indian express was that Gopal Pillai seems trying to consider the proposal and demand of Ukhrul as summer capital of Manipur immediately – deferring or snubbing the other ten point chaters as he is aware of the state territorial integrity problems in Manipur. It is also observed that the centre may willingly accept the proposal and demand made by the TNL just to retain the State territorial integrity as the Union Home Ministry Secretary also said, “The territorial integrity of the state is non-negotiable”. For all the concern Naga people – Ukhrul becoming the summer capital of Manipur would be a sensitive issue but for some people – it would be a matter of inconveniences to commute. Some people may consider that Senapati should become the summer capital of Manipur – in term of population, multi-ethnicity and location – situated in the heart of the NH39 – the life line of Manipur State. Senapati may be the most suitable summer capital of Manipur but once Senapati or any Naga dominated district becomes the summer capital of Manipur – it may shatter the dream of Naga aspiration to have One Administrative Unit.
I’ve some questions in my mind but instead of directly I engross in answering those questions, it may be more prudent for me to leave the questions for the Naga people in Nagalim, Meteis and other communities in Manipur to ponder and answer by themselves:
A few questions to the Naga people to ponder:
1. What will happen to Nagalim once the Ukhrul emerged to Metei-dominated state and became the Summer Capital of Manipur?
2. Will the Naga people in Nagalim supports the proposal and demand made to the Union Home Ministry Secretary by the TNL, “Ukhrul as summer capital of Manipur”?
3. Do you think that before the Naga Political problem is solved, it may be good to avoid any Naga dominated district to become the capital of Manipur State or any other State?
4. What will be the benefit for the Naga people if the Ukhrul district – the birth place of NSCN top leader Muivah, becomes the Summer Capital of Manipur?
5. Will it be possible to revoke from summer capital of Manipur and become one of the administrative units of Nagalim in the future?
6. Why and how the Nagaland became a State and how many people were assassinated when the Nagaland became of the States of India?
7. Is it necessary to have two capitals in such a small state like Manipur?
8. Is it too hot that Imphal cannot be the capital in summer season in Manipur?
A few questions to the Meteis and other communities to ponder:
1. Should the Meteis and other communities take this opportunity and consider Ukhrul to be the summer capital of Manipur so that the concept of Manipur territorial integrity is implemented practically?
2. What will be advantages of Ukhrul becoming the summer capital, where the district is located in (declared) NH150 and having only 5.9% of the total population of the state?
3. Do you think that it will be convenience for the people of Manipur if the Tamenglong or Ukhrul or East Imphal District becomes the summer capital of Manipur when the accessibility is concern?
4. Should we consider Senapati District to be the summer capital of Manipur instead of Ukhrul as it is situated in the life line of NH39 and everyone from Manipur is accessible?
5. Should the Metei consider more development for the hill districts so that the people in the hill districts are not alienated and consider more on State territorial integrity?
6. Should the Meteis consider Ukhrul as the summer capital so as to bring better relationship with the Naga people in Manipur and keep the State territorial integrity intact?
7. Do you think that it would be good for Manipur State territorial Integration in the future if the Meteis and other communities in Manipur consider Ukhrul or any Naga dominated district to be the summer capital of Manipur?
8. Do you think that the insurgent problem will be reduced if the strong hold of NSCN becomes the summer capital of Manipur?
(The above view expressed here does not represent the view of any organization or community. Any feed-back can be sent to Email: firstname.lastname@example.org) – Dr. R.B. Thohe Pou