ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Manipur and Its Demand for Internal Autonomy

Reviewing the fraught political situation in Manipur with the diverging demands for autonomy, which revived after apparent progress and near closure of the talks with the Nagas, this article assesses those demands and traces their origins. Arguing that the government has now an opportunity to force a compromise solution on all parties, it calls for a proactive role of the government to bring about lasting peace in the region.

Recent days have seen much commentary on the festering turmoil in Manipur where different ethnic groups are making competing autonomy demands. These demands were always there, but they were given a fresh lease of life by the ongoing Indo-Naga political talks. The Indo-Naga talks are actually more about Manipur than about Nagaland, as the issues discussed impinge directly on Manipur and its territorial integrity. The proverbial sword of Damocles hangs over Manipur’s head. These talks have meandered for the last 15 years, still with no solution in sight. There is a sense of exasperation all around. But, there is also anxious expectation that the talks are nearing their end, and this produces its own feelings of dread since it seems implausible to expect a solution that will satisfy all those concerned, given the diverging nature of interests stressed by them. It is this tense, nail-biting moment that has given rise to the long-standing grievances and demands coming to the surface.

But, how do we make sense of these diverging demands within such a small state? And, what is the nature of these demands?

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