TODAY -

Plebiscite talk spreads, gets shriller in state
Source: Hueiyen News Service / Newmai News Network

Imphal, April 15 2011: In Manipur it has become very common for the general public to come together in the resolution of pressing problems.

Given that the State is infamous for the preponderance of armed related problems since it attained statehood, it is only reasonable that the issue be put in public domain.

A series of meetings, largely entitled "Public participation in bringing solution to Manipur-India Conflict", have been underway, more aggressively since the arrest of RK Meghen, chairman of the proscribed United National Liberation Front (UNLF) contentiously from Motihari in Bihar late last year, for the initiation of plebiscite for the determination of the fate of the people of Manipur.

Clearly, the people have warmed up to affect some sort of change in their own small ways to the overarching issue plaguing the insurgency ridden State of Manipur.

However, the mobilization and campaign for plebiscite has not been a smooth sail.

The public participations has initially been subjected to close scrutiny by agents of the government.

Such meetings have been held in Sekmai, Lamsang, Yairipok under the aegis of local civil organizations.

A case of preemptive action by Lamsang police resulted in the lodging of an FIR against the leaders of the meeting in Lamsang under section 153-B (imputation against national integrity) and 120-B (criminal conspiracy) .

The police had dubbed such meetings as an attempt to excite feelings against the government established law in India and a conspiracy to support underground outfits in Manipur by furthering their cause.

Interestingly, on March 21 last, after being produced before the NIA special court in Guwahati, the chairman of UNLF RK Meghen noted that "the chief minister of Manipur Okram Ibobi Singh was the first chief minister of States under the government of India to openly talk about plebiscite in the State Assembly." Because no rebuttal was forthcoming from the chief minister on regard to the volte face, keen observers were flummoxed at the statement that apparently put New Delhi in an uncomfortable position.

"The Indian system is a plutocracy…under such a system, there is no plausible way for small communities to make any tangible progress and take the road to development," the UNLF chief had said.

While the Union government has been exploring ways to bring the recalcitrant Meghen to negotiating table, he and his one-of-the-longest-running armed underground group in Northeast UNLF have been sticking to their guns of plebiscite.

Meanwhile, the issue of plebiscite has also been crossed in the official list of taboo by the State government.

People from all walks of life are therefore being accommodated and educated on the subtle meaning associated with the political process called plebiscite.


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