IFP Bureau, IMPHAL
In view of the Naga peace talks coming to a close, security has been beefed up in Manipur and the Coordinating Committee on Manipur Integrity (COCOMI), expressing concern over the outcome of the talks, has extended its cease-work strike and protests till 6 pm of Friday.
The COCOMI made the announcement soon after the peace talks between the NSCN-IM and the GoI in New Delhi concluded Thursday.
Earlier, it was speculated the Naga peace talks will be sealed today and COCOMI called for a 20-hour cease work strike and protests since 4 am today. However, with the details of the agreement reached today yet to be made public COCOMI has extended the cease work strike.
Addressing media at a press meet held today at UCM office, Lamphelpat, COCOMI coordinator Sunil Karam said that the people of Manipur need to remain alert and cautious as the final settlement of the Naga issue is still unclear.
Referring to Union Home Minister Amit Shah’s assurance to the state, all political parties delegation for consulting stakeholders of Manipur, Assam and Arunachal Pradesh before the pact is sealed, Sunil questioned why additional troops of paramilitary forces are being sent in to the State. “The outcome of the peace talks may not be favourable for the State as indicated by the huge number of security personnel being stationed in Manipur,” he said and at the same time lamented that educational institutions are being militarized by the government.”
According to sources, as many as 6,000 troops of the Border Security Force (BSF) have been deployed in Manipur. At present, two companies of BSF are stationed at Maharaj Bodhachandra College in Imphal East district. Similarly, two companies are lodged inside DM college of Arts. For every district, the troops are deployed for extra security measure which may crop up if the talks succeed or fail.
While urging the people to continue with the protests to safeguard Manipur’s integrity, the COCOMI coordinator made it clear that the agitations will continue until a written assurance that Manipur is not affected is given from the PMO or by the home minister. “The outcome of the Naga peace talks will decide the sincerity of Prime Minister, Narendra Modi, who always claims to have special affection for the people of Northeast, especially Manipur,” he asserted.
Sunil further urged the Government of India to withdraw any statement or clause in the Framework Agreement, if any, that may harm the interest of Manipur before the final pact is sealed.
However, the group has exempted ‘Chavang Kut’ post harvest festival of the Chin-Kuki-Mizo communities to be celebrated on Friday.