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Traditional Neermahal Jal Utsav Concludes In Agartala, Tripura

The main attraction, of the festival, boat race and swimming competition, was organized on the last day on Sept 15.

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AGARTALA (Tripura): The three-day-long traditional Neermahal Jal Utsav concluded today with eye-catching boat race and swimming competitions at Rudrasagar lake.

Chief Minister Biplab Kumar Deb flagged off the boat race. Speaking on the occasion, CM Deb said that his government has taken the initiative to renovate Neermahal so as to get back the aura of its golden era.

The three-day-long festival included a number of programmes such as Manasha Mangal competition along with cultural function on September 14.


The main attraction, of the festival, boat race and swimming competition, was organized on the last day on September 15.

Neermahal is a water palace built at the middle of Rudrasagar lake by Maharaja Bir Bikram Kishore Manikya in 1930 as his summer resort is inspired by the Mughal style of architecture.


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DIALOGUE FOR CHANGE

Nagaland Peace Process: The Break Of Dawn Seems Imminent

A generous rehabilitation package for militants has to be drawn up as a step to ensure that there is stability.

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Marking a possible final phase of India’s longest enduring insurgency, the deadlock between the Government of India (GoI) and National Socialist Council of Nagaland – Isak-Muivah (NSCN-IM) was broken on October 31, 2019, with the NSCN-IM agreeing to sign a peace deal.

Also Read:
(1) Government Determined To Conclude Naga Peace Process: Governor R N Ravi
(2) Centre Needs To Note The Naga Separatists’ Unease
(3) ‘Indo-Naga Political Negotiations’ Not Restricted to Nagaland: NNPG

Both parties, according to reports, have reached an acceptable position on the contentious issues of Naga flag and Naga constitution, which were the main roadblocks for signing the accord. Nagaland Governor and interlocutor for the peace talks, R.N. Ravi stated, “the accord has not been finalised yet. Matters are under discussion. NSCN-IM has come on board.”


The latest phase of the peace process started with the signing of the Framework Agreement on August 3, 2015,  with the NSCN-IM. Later in 2016, the scope of the accord was widened with the formation of the Naga National Political Groups (NNPGs), a conglomerate of  Naga militant formations to secure a ‘permanent solution’ to the ‘Naga issue’.

The negotiations, which have lingered on for over four years, reached a limbo when R.N. Ravi, on August 21, 2019, stated that the peace process was stuck up on symbolic issues of Flag and Constitution, although core issues had been resolved.

Indeed, on September 29,  2019, NSCN-IM ‘general secretary’ Thuingaleng Muivah stated that there would be no peace accord without the flag and constitution.

In the runup to the deadline of October 31, 2019, set by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, a change in posture by NSCN-IM and the Security Forces (SFs), was indicated. Reports indicate that NSCN-IM militants had started moving into Manipur and Mizoram to cross over to Myanmar and SFs were being redeployed. Deputy Commissioners (DC) and administrative officers were ordered to remain within their places of posting and jurisdiction.



Moreover, in the earlier months of 2019, confrontations between NSCN-IM and SFs had recorded a spike.

A chief catalyst for NSCN-IM’s abrupt change of heart is likely to have been the defections of kilo kilonser (home minister) ’ Hukavi Yeputhomi and 16 other leaders on October 25 and 22 other senior NSCN-IM leaders on October 28.

The apprehension of further defections significantly weakening NSCN-IM, and resulting in the group’s displacement from its principal position at the negotiating table, to be rendered isolated and irrelevant in a future peace process, are likely to have prodded the leadership to come back on board.

Despite the October 31 development, a plethora of concerns need to be addressed. Although the Government has assured that no final agreement will be taken without consultation with all stakeholders, one of the main issues to be addressed will be the apprehensions of states such as Manipur, Assam and Arunachal whose territorial areas are included in NSCN-IM’s vision of ‘Greater Nagaland’ or ‘Nagalim’.

In  Arunachal Pradesh, All Arunachal Pradesh Students Union (AAPSU) had on October 29 stated that the Naga accord should not change the territorial jurisdiction of the state.

Arunachal Pradesh Chief Minister (CM) Pema Khandu also stated on October 31 that Union Home Minister Amit Shah had assured him that inputs from Manipur, Assam, and Arunachal will also be factored in before the final agreement.

Valley areas of Manipur have already seen a host of protest demonstrations, with the Coordinating Committee on Manipur Integrity (COCOMI) launching a massive protest against any deal that could affect the territorial integrity of Manipur as a result of the Naga accord. After the news of the October 31 agreement, COCOMI has extended its cease-work strike and protests.



Reports indicate that Army troops have been air-lifted to Manipur from Dimapur (Nagaland) on October 31.

This is supplementary to the 15 Companies of Central Armed Police Force (CAPF) in Imphal area. Apprehension in Manipur is likely to persist as the issues of integration of Naga inhabited areas outside Nagaland are stated to require further discussion.

Possibility of a break down in law and order in valley areas of Manipur remains a possibility.

With insurgency-related fatalities declining consistently, the October 31 agreement is a timely development in the right direction. However, considerable distance needs to be covered in the coming days to bring in an enduring peace by addressing the apprehensions of neighbouring states and equally satisfying naga demands as well.

A generous rehabilitation package for militants has to be drawn up as a step to ensure that there is stability in law and order situation.

Disclaimer: The facts and opinions expressed in this article are strictly the personal opinions of the author. League of India does not assume any responsibility or liability for the accuracy, completeness, suitability, or validity of any information in this article.


Published with permission from South Asia Intelligence Review of the South Asia Terrorism Portal.

M A Athul

M A Athul is a Research Assistant with the Institute for Conflict Management, New Delhi. He is currently working on research and documentation of insurgency in North East India. He has also worked on the field on West Asia and Afghanistan

 


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INTERNAL CHALLENGES

Obscure Manipuri Separatists Announce ‘Govt In Exile’ In UK

The dissidents produced documents to show they have been granted political asylum in the UK in August this year.

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LONDON (England): Two dissident leaders from Manipur claiming to represent King Leishemba Sanajaoba on Tuesday announced the launch of the “Manipur Government in exile” here in the UK.

Addressing a press conference, Yamben Biren, claiming to be the “Chief Minister of Manipur State Council” and Narengbam Samarjit, claiming to be the “Minister of External Affairs and Defence of Manipur State Council” said they were speaking on behalf of the ‘Maharaja of Manipur’ to formally launch the government-in-exile — “The Manipur State Council”.

Narengbam Samarjit, external affairs minister in the self-declared Manipur State Council, said the exiled government would push for recognition at the United Nations.


We will run the de jure exiled government here […] from today onwards,” he told reporters in London after a declaration of independence first announced in Manipur in 2012 was read aloud.

We will seek recognition from different nations […] to become a (UN) member. We hope many of the countries will recognise our independence.”

Manipur, one of India’s smallest states with a population of around just 2.8 million people, is one of the so-called “Seven Sisters” — a group of restive northeastern states.



The region, encircled by five other countries and connected to the rest of India by a sliver of land arching over Bangladesh, has been wracked by armed conflict and instability.

It has spawned more than 100 militant groups over the decades whose demands range from autonomy to secession.

Violence has been part of daily life for decades in Manipur, which borders Myanmar, with a strong presence of the Indian military.

The state has a strong ethnic mix, and its Meitei, Naga, Kuki and Pangal communities are all deeply committed to preserving their own cultural autonomy.

Its people have also always tended to look eastwards in their search for cultural links.



Samarjit said he hoped the world would support its independence cause.

“We are not free there and our history is going to be destroyed, our culture is going to be extinct,” he warned.

“So the UN should listen […] we raise our voice to the whole world that the people living in Manipur are human beings.”

The High Commission of India did not respond to a request for comment.


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DEFENCE-SECURITY

MoS Home Affairs Presides Over Assam Rifles Commanders’ Conference at Shillong

He lauded the efforts of the Assam Rifles for the selfless service in far-flung border areas.

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SHILLONG (Meghalaya): Union Minister of State for Home Affairs Nityanand Rai said that the development of the North East region has been the priority for the Government under the leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi. He was on his maiden visit to the Headquarters Directorate General, Assam Rifles at Shillong on the occasion of the Annual Assam Rifles Commanders’ Conference today.

Addressing the media, the minister said that the North East has undergone a revolutionary transformation in the last five years because of the concerted efforts of the Union Government.

North East is today competing both at National and International level in different spheres and there have been efforts to bring this region at par with rest of the country in different spheres, be it sports, art and culture, infrastructure, production of essential commodities, education, industrial development among others, he added.


Acknowledging the abundance of natural resources in the region, the Minister said that if these huge potentials present in the Northeast region are tapped adequately there is scope for setting up of a lot of industries in the region.

He also said that improved connectivity and infrastructure has removed bottlenecks in the development process, giving a boost to the region’s economy and promoting industry.

With the pace at which the development activities have been progressing because of the fast-track thrust by the Union Government, the Northeast will soon become the most unique, developed and preferred destination in the entire country and a region whose development model would be replicated in the rest of the country, the Minister opined.



Earlier in the day, Rai was given the Ceremonial Guard of Honour by the mixed contingent comprising of Male and Female soldiers of Assam Rifles.

He later paid homage to the martyrs of the Force at the Laitkor War Memorial.

The Minister also attended the Special Sainik Sammelan comprising of all Ranks of Assam Rifles. In his address, Rai complimented Assam Rifles for playing a pivotal role in guarding the national frontiers and facilitating various Government schemes in North Eastern States leading to infrastructure development.

He lauded the efforts of the Assam Rifles for the selfless service in far-flung border areas like Vijaynagar in Arunachal Pradesh and remote areas of Nagaland and Manipur.

He appreciated the efforts of all Assam Rifles battalions engaged in skill development of the youth leading to employment generation opportunities under Skill India Mission and also towards organising sports-related activities like local tournaments and coaching camps for talented youths.

The Minister complimented the Force for spreading awareness about Swaccha Bharat, Jal Shakti Abhiyan and Fit India Movement in the entire region.



Rai exhorted the troops of the oldest border guarding force to continue their good work in all spheres including being an ever alert force and countering Insurgency in the most challenging terrain of the North East.

Later in the day the Minister also inaugurated the newly constructed OPD wing of Assam Rifles Multi Speciality Hospital at Laitkor (Shillong).

During the Conference, Lt Gen Sukhdeep Sangwan (SM), DG Assam Rifles, briefed the Minister about the general security situation in the North East, the activities of the Force while guarding the Indo Myanmar border and about counter-insurgency operations being undertaken.

He also highlighted various developmental and welfare initiatives taken by Assam Rifles in the region.


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