Verbal assurances given by the Home Minister Amit Shah that Manipur’s interests would be protected in the impending Naga Accord, which the Government plans to sign this month ahead of Christmas, are not enough, the second most powerful man in India has been told.
Sources confirm that the Coordinating Committee on Manipur Integrity (COCOMI) has demanded that the Home Minister make a statement in Parliament that the state government of Manipur and civil society organisations in Manipur would be consulted before the Centre signs a deal with NSCN(IM) and other Naga groups, which have been demanding a ‘greater’ Nagaland by including Naga dominated areas in adjoining states.
A public convention was held at Imphal on Friday by COCOMI on the future course of action. According to reports, it unanimously rejected the Home Minister’s verbal assurance in the matter.
COCOMI, an umbrella organisation, had been invited to New Delhi for consultations. That is where the verbal assurance is said to have been given. The organisation, which has been in the forefront of ongoing protests in Manipur, had earlier sought a written assurance from the minister.
Anticipating that Delhi might impose yet another autonomous territorial council in the NE region based on ethnic lines to satisfy the NSCN(IM) and get the accord signed, the conclave resolved to oppose any such eventuality.
“Resolved to oppose the Government of India to create any kind of Autonomous Territorial Council in Manipur based on ethnic line as the consequence of the Peace Talk with the NSCN(IM) as it was reflected in the intention of the Union Home Minister during the deliberation with COCOMI delegation in New Delhi,” reads the resolution.
Referring to the Home minister’s verbal assurance to the visiting COCOMI delegation that the Manipur government, opposition parties and civil society would be consulted “in case anything to affect Manipur is to be included in the final agreement” of peace talk with the NSCN(IM), the resolution stated that an assurance by itself was “not acceptable to the people of Manipur as it does not imply the consent of people of Manipur” .
The convention also underlined the “ethnic harmony and administrative set up for the inclusive benefit of the people of Manipur shall not be decided by New Delhi or a section of Manipur society” but by “mutual discussion” among the various communities residing in the state.
COCOMI has been demanding for a special session of the state Assembly before December 10 to debate and discuss the “agreed points” at consultations with the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA).
The cabinet has now decided to convene the winter session of the state legislative assembly from December 18.