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Talks only on the issue of sovereignty of Manipur: Revolutionary People’s Front (RPF)

Posted by Admin on November 14, 2009


PLA Traning camp

[Manipur’s powerful insurgent group Revolutionary People’s Front (RPF) has reaffirmed its stand not to have a political dialogue with the Government of India (GOI) except on the issue of independence and sovereignty of Manipur.] Source: Peoples March Regd. with the RNI No.: KER ENG/2000/2051 R

VICE President of RPF Manoharmayum Ngouba in his official interaction with a group of visiting media persons at the training command headquarter of the outfit located in the interior jungle of Ukhrul district near Indo-Myanmar border on May 5 reiterated that they would not come to the negotiation table with GOI
except on the issue of independence and sovereignty of Manipur.

In his first press conference in the last three decades, vice president Ngouba, who is also the chief of army staff of the People’s Liberation Army (PLA), the armed wing of the outfit, founded on 25 September 1978 with the aim of restoring Manipur’s sovereignty said, “We are very clear about this” adding that the party would not say, “yes or no” to any proposed political dialogue with the Government of India. “It does not mean that the party will not at all go for a political dialogue,” the vice president said adding that no proposal
for a political dialogue from the government of India has come and no such proposal was also given from the side of the RPF. Apart from the vice president, Takhellambam Leishemba, secretary, publicity, Pukhrambam Chaoyai, secretary bureau-III and Thounaojam Robin Luwang, chief of administration and operations were also present during the press conference.

The Insurgent leader explaining the reasons for organizing the official press conference to the visiting journalists said that the 2nd Party Congress was held after a long period from July 14 to December 4 last year. “The first congress of the outfit was held in 1990. The party wants 35 general policies and programmes out of the resolutions adopted at the party congress to be widely publicized to the people of Manipur,” he said.

The second congress of the outfit, participated by 86 central cadres, also re-elected/elected Irengbam Chaoren as president, Manoharmayum Ngouba as vice president, Sanasam Gunen as secretary general, Wangkhem Ibohal as secretary health and family welfare, Nongmeikappam Honda as secretary finance, Laitonjam Chanu Yang as
secretary organization, Takhellambam Leishemba as secretary publicity, Moirangthem Suresh as secretary bureau I, mayengbam Gibon Luwang as secretary external affairs,
Pukhrambam Chouyai as secretary bureau III and Jackie Samper Chiru as secretary minority affairs. Replying to a question on the banning of Hindi movies and other Hindi related entertainment programmes in Manipur, the vice president said, “It is very sensitive to us because it relates with the cultural domination.” RPF had imposed a complete ban on transmission, screening and viewing of Hindi movies and entertainment programmes which are being used as a primary means of “Indianisation” since September 12,

Responding to a question on Naga issues, VP Ngouba said, “Naga cause cannot be said to be detrimental to Manipur’s cause.” The leader said that there had been times when Naga cause turned out to be quite helpful to Manipur’s cause and it is believed that it will be helpful in the future as well. Because, Nagaland is not a few thousand kilometers away from Manipur but an immediate neighbor. Thus it will be wrong to think all Nagas as anti-Manipuris and it will also be wrong to tale all Manipuris as anti- Nagas, the RPF leader opined. He further admitted that both groups of the NSCN are having ceasefire agreement with the Government of India. One is in the so-called peace process while the
other one has been trying for a long time to take part in it.

On the alleged involvement of the NSCS-IM in the election held under the Constitution of India by fielding candidates who would lobby in the parliamentary for the Naga cause while the RPF has been boycotting all elections held under the Indian Constitution and banning anyone who is a former cadre of the outfit from contesting in the elections as a
candidate, Ngouba said, “The political and social reality of the Nagas is a little different from the political and social reality of Manipur.” “That too, the political and social reality that existed in the 80s and the political and social reality of the 90s are also different from that of the present,” he felt.

The leader reacting to a question on the decrease of its strike against the security forces said, “We have a different war dynamics, our success is not dependent on head count.” Though he reserved his comment on certain policies of the party, the leader said his organization is planning to mobilize people residing in other parts of India as well to achieve their goal. He also admitted that his organization has established close link with CPI (Maoist) groups in the country since the last few years. “We need to unite with like minded parties to strengthen our struggle. We sometime take help form them, they also take help from us too,” Ngouba added.

On the outfit’s relation with foreign countries, the leader recalled, “Former prime minister of Bangladesh Khaleda Zia had once acknowledged our struggle as a liberation struggle in the parliament.” “Many international NGOs are also extending support to our struggle,” he claimed and added the China which once provided support to the outfit in the past has changed their policies. He however stated that the immediate neighour Myanmar which has much similarity in terms of cultural and traditional values, historical perspectives etc with Manipur will certainly lend support. On the outfit’s declaration of ratifying a few protocols of the Geneva Convention in 1997, Ngouba said that the party declaration is still binding and abides by the protocols. On another question whether the RPF believes in the United Nations helping Manipur regain in its local independence and sovereignty, Ngouba said that it is a historical process. The party would find means to do what it can within the international parameters and there will be many things that others can do as well. There are changes in what India could do in the past, what it can do now to influence the international community, the RPF leaders said and added that there are now changes in the present role of India compared to its past role.

Even in the international arena, the nations irrespective of big or small have the power to influence others, which are changeable, Ngouba pointed out. The general suspicion is that whether the military and economic clout of India will be able to change the mindset of the country and its people of whose help the party wants to seek, he added. But
it is not believable that only those countries which have money and power can influence the existing determined policies and judgments of the rest of the countries, he said.

On India’s influence over the UN and other countries regarding not extending support to the insurgent groups of Manipur, the RPF leader replied that it is not always true that
only the rich and powerful countries can influence the relationship among the nations and change the prevailing order. He said, “It’s quite natural for India to try to do the same. India will do anything to protect its interest. For us too, we, as a nation – big or small – shall do what ought to be done. We are carrying on with our liberation movement with the conviction that it’s not the rich and powerful countries alone that shape the international relations.”

Ngouba further pointed out that the parties involved in the war seem to forget that there are two sides in the job. It’s not a war that is played on the script of drama. There are two opposing sides in a war. It’s the people that either of the two sides tries to bring to its side. People are kind of a trophy – a prize of war. He said since people are the decisive factor in the principles of a revolutionary war, it’s the side on which the people stand the unfailingly wins. Its significance is known to all concerned. However, the means totranslate this significance into reality seems somewhat difficult on the side of the revolutionary groups. But it doesn’t happen to be all that difficult on the part of the enemy since, apart from having one point something billion people, its economy is included in the one to ten ranks in the world. Moreover it’s a country rising in military and technology.

“However if they are asked, does this make them believe that they will win the fight, they say no,” says the RPF leader referring to newspaper reports in which army commanders and generals during their visit in the region had said that the military can not solve the issue. He also admitted that the insurgent groups lacked means and
resources for taking forward and working harder on the situation, not only in terms of materials but also in moral and other issues.

There will be no question of the enemy winning as it has larger number of population and is bigger or we will be defeated since ours is a small nation with lesser population. It’s just that they are taking a little more advantages, he felt. Regarding the mass mobilization by the RPF/PLA for its movement, he said that all the (revolutionary) parties felt the necessity of mass participation in the liberation movement.

[Courtesy: The North East Sun, May 31, 2009.]


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