The Game ‘That Delhi Plays’
There has to be a reason, a real reason, not some unfounded, baseless an imaginary thoughts, why the people of the North East region are not too inclined to fall for everything that Delhi says, hook, line and sinker. For the moment let’s concentrate on Mani-pur and the burning issue of Naga Integra- tion versus the continued existence of Manipur as a political and social entity as it stands today. After the 2001 uproar witnessed in Imphal, where a good number of Government offices, political party offices etc were burnt, not to speak of the then Speaker forced out on the street and paraded by the infuriated people, who felt betrayed by the political leadership, New Delhi responded with the assurance that the territorial integrity of Manipur would not be compromised under any circumstances. The then BJP led NDA Government even erased the phrase, ‘cease fire without territorial limits’ from the Bangkok Declaration.
Political parties cutting across ideological beliefs and moorings have also been mouthing the same line that the territory of Manipur would not be touched at all, despite the open demand raised by the NSCN (IM) to integrate all Naga inhabited areas under one administrative unit. The reasons for raising this demand range from asserting ‘the uniqueness of Naga history, conveniently forgetting that the histories of each and every community are unique in their own ways, discrimination by the Meitei majority in Manipur, deprivation of the rights of the tribals, read Nagas, sidelining the interest of the Naga people to appease the Meitei population etc. There may be some substance in the voice raised by the Naga people, but to take it all as the Biblical truth would be missing the trees for the wood. Coming back to the question of Delhi, a good question that can be asked is, why can’t the people of Manipur take the words of the Prime Minister of the country that the territory of Manipur would not be compromised at all at face value.
The latest to underline this point would be the Union Home Secretary, GK Pillai, who said that the Chief Minister of Manipur has been assured by the Prime Minister of India that the territory of Manipur will remain intact, during an exclusive interview with the All India Radio, some days back.
We may also recall the visit of the then Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee and how he delivered a master political stroke while addressing the people in Nagaland, that the question of Nagalim or Greater Nagaland can only be resolved with the consensus of the neighbouring States. Despite all these, New Delhi is yet or has miserably failed in totally convincing the people of Manipur on this point and this is an interesting phenomena and also raises some questions over the very idea of an India as a Nation. On the other hand, the people of Nagaland, too do not trust the Centre at all, least of all the NSCN (IM). The latest manifestation of this reality is the manner in which NSCN (IM) leader Th Muivah thundered and accused the Central Government of using the Government of Manipur to thwart his visit to his birth place at Somdal in Ukhrul district of Manipur. A number of civil society organisations in Manipur too have laid the blame at the door of the Centre for the present crisis and the BJP has been categorical in stating that the Union Home Minister P Chidambaram created the present mess by giving the go ahead signal to Muivah overlooking the Government of Manipur.
So are the people of the North East, especially the people of Nagaland and Manipur, being used as pawns in the political strategem being drawn up by the dhoti and Nehru coat clad politicians in Delhi ? These questions are relevant at this point of time if we go by the different interpretations coming forth from the discerning people, over the brouhaha created by the proposed visit of Th Muivah. One line of thought says that in the present impasse, Ibobi has been made a hero while Muivah has been turned into someone of no importance, by the political ploy and plots scripted and played to perfection by New Delhi. On the other hand, there is the line of argument that Chief Minister O Ibobi has made Muivah into some sort of a hero or a champion of the Naga cause while at the same time helping him to reach out to the Angamis, who had been indifferent to Muivah after Phizo faded from the lime light. In short the two lines of thought can be summed up as Chidambaram knocking the wind out of Muivah, courtesy O Ibobi and O Ibobi made to appear as a hero to some and villain to other and unwittingly helping Muivah to raise his stature in the eyes of the world as a ‘Peace Crusader of South East Asia.’ The reaction to this platitude by the Kuki Inpi, Manipur is a true reflection of the pogroms carried out by the NSCN (IM) in the 90s.