Manipur chief minister Okram Ibobi Singh on Tuesday sought to know the yet-to-be-declared details of the Naga peace accord as leaders and groups in the state repeated their opposition to any attempt to redraw territorial boundaries.
Unlike the UPA government, no information was shared with the state before the accord was signed between the Centre and NSCN (I-M) on Monday, the Congress chief minister said. “We’ll not accept the said accord if it disturbs the territorial integrity of Manipur.”
Other leaders, too, were wary of the pact’s outline because the largest and strongest insurgent group in the Northeast has been fighting for a sovereign Naga homeland that includes areas in Manipur, Arunachal Pradesh and Assam, besides the state of Nagaland.
The Manipur People’s Party (MPP) adviser L Chandramani Singh said the opposition party welcomed the efforts to bring peace to the region which has witnessed decades of insurgency. “But our party will not accept the peace pact if it disturbs the historic territorial integrity of state,” he warned.
The NSCN (I-M) top demand during its 18-year peace process was integration of all contiguous Naga-inhabited areas to form a Nagalim or Greater Nagaland, which includes five hill districts of Manipur.
“We welcome the accord if it is confined to Nagaland,” said E Johnson, president of the United Committee Manipur, a conglomerate of civil society organisations.
The vice-president of Imphal-based group All Manipur United Clubs Organisation (AMUCO), Ph Deban, shared similar sentiments. “We do not object to any peace accord, but not at the expense of our territory. The Centre should remember 2001.”
At least 18 people died in an uprising in Manipur in June 2001 after the Centre decided to extend the ambit of the 1997 ceasefire agreement with the NSCN (I-M) “without territorial limits” or to areas beyond Nagaland.