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Friday, 6 July 2001

 
Proceedings of the One Day Open Debate on the "Implications of the GOI-NSCN(IM) Cease fire Extension without Territorial Limits" organised by MUTA are released through the press release of the association.

Manipur University Teachers' Association  Press Release

 

The Manipur University Teachers' Association (MUTA) has organized a one day open debate on the "Implications of the GOI-NSCN(IM) Cease fire Extension without Territorial Limits" chaired by a presidium comprising of Prof. N. Khagendra Singh, Prof. N. Mohendra Singh and Dr. Th. Ratankumar Singh,President MUTA on July 5, 2001 at 10:00 a.m. in the Centenary Hall of the University.

The Centenary Hall of the University, which normally can accommodate about one thousand people at a time, was not able to accommodate all the people who turned up to participate in the debate.

At the outset the participants observed a two-minutes’ silent observation as a mark of paying homage to those fourteen persons who had died and those who had suffered injuries on the 18th June 2001.

The President, MUTA, gave a brief note on the recent developments following the cease-fire agreement and the imperatives of organizing such an open public Debate. The President also made an appeal to all the Debaters to confine their opinions purely on academic perspectives devoid of any emotions or sentiments.

More than thirty participants including eminent personalities from a cross-section of Manipuri Society deliberated on various aspects relating to the implications of the GOI- NSCN(IM) cease-fire extension without territorial limits as well as the various issues resulting therefrom. All the speakers took serious note of the public resentment against the extension of cease-fire.

Padmashri N. Khelchandra, while referring to archival and historical records, spoke of the historical territorial size of Manipur, which was much larger than the present size. In doing so, he strongly refuted the territorial claims made by NSCN(IM). He also appealed that all the communities in Manipur should shun violence and find an amicable solution through peaceful and democratic means.

Prof. N. Sanajaoba appreciated the role-played by AMSU and other organisations. He appealed to the general public in general and the media in particular to refrain from confusing the public by using the term 'Indo - Naga' talks. The agreement was in fact signed between the Government of India and the National Socialist Council of Nagaland. The word 'IM' was not even mentioned in the Bangkok Agreement. He expressed that the GOI should not be carried away by the wishes of the minority section of the population on issues involving the general population. Since the State of Manipur was not a signatory to the cease-fire agreement, he asserted that the agreement cannot be made operational in Manipur.

Dr. T. S. Gangte questioned the wisdom of the GOI in giving the recognition to the NSCN(IM) as a separate entity while signing the cease-fire agreement. He emphasized that Kukis constitute almost half of the total population of the three districts being claimed by NSCN(IM) in Manipur and in fact the Kukis have been more significant politically. He also pointed out that the GOI entering into agreement when an outlawed organisation like the NSCN(IM) reduces India to a terrorist state.

Senior Advocate A. Nilamani termed the GOI-NSCN(IM) cease-fire extension as a gameplan of pitting one community against another. While expressing fear that cease-fire without territorial limits may not be immediately withdrawn he suggested that the boundary of the State of Manipur can be safeguarded only through a process of amendment of Article 3 of the Indian Constitution. A proper strategy needs to be adopted to achieve this, he concluded.

Mr R.K. Ranendrajit expressed that it was time to chalk out an action plan and the time for debate or discussion was over. He suggested that there should be a united effort to counter the GOI policy of divide and rule. He concluded with the statement, 'They have so far seen our humanity and they have not seen our enmity'. Therefore, we should not succumb to the bait of the GOI.

Prof. Ksh. Bimola termed the cease-fire as full of duplicity and contradiction and therefore difficult to implement.

Prof. Amar Yumnam opined that the ceasefire extension need to be viewed from the perspective of (a) the failure of the GOI to evolve any integrative policy relevant for a multi-ethnic and multi-regional context, and (b) the recent resurgence of the North East as a force to reckon with in different fields and the increasing interaction among the different groups of the region through various civil society organisations. The ceasefire extension is a ploy to nib in the bud the burgeoning strength of the North East, he asserted. While appreciating the demand for constitutional amendment to ensure territorial integrity of Manipur, he expressed apprehensions on this score given the rich tract record of India regarding constitutional amendments. In this connection, he emphasised the need for inserting a clause in the Merger Agreement to provide for periodic review and right to secede.

Dr. K. Ibo Singh suggested moderation while reacting to the cease-fire extension by all the communities. He also said that the age of ‘diktat’, domination is over. We should think in terms of interdependence and mutual co-operation so that we can live in peace, he said.

Prof. N. Lokendra categorized the cease-fire as anti people, ahistoric, undemocratic, anachronistic and a process of colonization by vested interest. He suggested that 'social federalism' must be advocated.

Md. Riyajuddin Chaudhury, Padmasri M.K. Binodini, M.Ibohal Singh, A. Brajakumar Sharma, Dr. Y. Mohendra, Y. Tijendra, L. Sadananda also participated in the debate. All the other speakers expressed their strong objection to the extension of the cease-fire without territorial limits.They all expressed that the cease-fire extension without territorial limits must be immediately withdrawn and the territorial integrity of Manipur must not be allowed to alter at any cost.

(Dr S. Dorendrajit Singh)
General Secretary, MUTA

 


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