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The Dzuko imbroglio

IFP Editorial: The Mao people had every right to seek the assistance of the state government for good roads and infrastructure besides protection of their boundaries. And they certainly do not need the permission of Southern Angami or any other organisation for such assistance.

ByIFP Bureau

Updated 18 Dec 2022, 6:55 pm

(Photo: IFP)
(Photo: IFP)

This time, it is not a blockade of Manipur vehicles on the Imphal-Dimapur highway but a direct confrontation with Mao people by the Southern Angami Peoples Organisation (SAPO) and the Southern Angami Youth Organisation (SAYO) over the Dzuko dispute.

Mao families settling or doing business in Angami area have been driven out while any Mao person travelling on the highway are harassed or thrashed even to the extent of burning vehicles belonging to Mao people.

Confrontation between the Southern Angami and Mao people over Dzuko valley is not a new thing. There were times when SAPO/SAYO imposed indefinite blockade on the highway which was followed by even counter blockade of sorts in Assam by the All Assam Manipuri Youth Association (AAMYA) prohibiting Nagaland bound vehicles from entering and leaving Nagaland state.

Several valley based organisations, including the United Committee Manipur (UCM) had then threatened to impose a counter blockade. Interestingly, the hill based civil society organisations were silent then.

The All Naga Students Association Manipur (ANSAM) was the first to react to the recent incident in which it appealed to both the Southern Angami and the Mao Council to resolve the dispute amicably.

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The All Tribal Students' Union, Manipur (ATSUM) has appealed to the Southern Angami Public Organisation (SAPO) and the Mao Council to resume dialogue and bring an amicable solution.

We remember the North East Students' Organisation (NESO) seeking the attention of Union Home Minister Amit Shah to intervene in inter-state boundary disputes involving Mizoram, Meghalaya, Manipur, Nagaland, Arunachal Pradesh and Assam in July 2021.

NESO said the boundary dispute between the states has been lingering on for too long with no permanent solution between the states. With the state leaders engaged in making temporary agreements, conflicts and tensions have cropped up time to time which has caused immense hardship and suffering to the people residing in and around the disputed border areas, added the letter.

A case in point is the Dzuko Valley which sits high among the clouds at 2,452 meters above sea level, straddling the border with Nagaland state. A state border between Manipur and Nagaland runs through the heart of Dzuko Valley, marked at some points by a narrow stream.

There have been several instances of confrontations between Manipur and Nagaland. But in the end, it ultimately boils down to disputes between the Southern Angamis of Nagaland and Maos of Manipur.

Now, the SAPO has imposed an indefinite blockade of the National Highway with a demand that the Manipur government should withdraw its armed personnel and remove structures from Kezoltsa area.

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While asserting that 3/4 of the entire area of Dzuko valley belongs to Manipur and the remaining to Nagaland, Chief Minister N Biren Singh said the IRB outpost set up at Kezoltsa area was for precautionary measures to avoid unwanted incidents for the local tourists of Manipur.

The latest flare-up was in fact the trekking expeditions in Dzuko valley organised as a part of the Sangai Festival. SAPO has alleged that the Mao people are transgressing on their territory with the Manipur government directly supporting it. They say, the Manipur government had constructed the police outpost and the road leading to Dzuko at the insistence of Mao people as if it is a conspiracy.

The Mao people had every right to seek the assistance of the state government for good roads and infrastructure besides protection of their boundaries. And they certainly do not need the permission of Southern Angami or any other organisation for such assistance.

It is simply a question of age-old territory and nothing to do with the larger aspiration of the Naga cause. Why should the Maos sacrifice their territory for the sake of an imagination which has no foreseeable future? We stand with the Mao people.

Editorial

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First published:

Tags:

maodzukosapomao councilsouthern angamisayo

IFP Bureau

IFP Bureau

IMPHAL, Manipur

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