Manipur: Govt assurance fails to convince COCOMI, protest continues unabated

Jimmy Leivon
COCOMI is an umbrella body of several civil society organisations recently formed with the objective to lead agitation against any anti-state outcome from the talks.

The Coordinating Committee on Manipur Integrity (COCOMI), which is spearheading the current agitation in the state, Wednesday contended that it is not convinced by the repeated verbal assurances of the government not to harm Manipur’s integrity unless the assurance is in written form.

COCOMI’s reaction comes a day after Manipur Chief Minister N Biren Singh reiterated the commitment given by Union Home Minister Amit Shah that Manipur’s integrity will not be harmed by the final settlement of the Naga political issue.

Sunil Karam, coordinator COCOMI said that similar verbal assurances have been given multiple times by both Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Union Home Minister Amit Shah. However, the central leaders have never been clear on what kind of interest of the people of Manipur are going to be protected, said Karam.

“The interests of the people and the interests of the leaders may be in conflict which is why we will trust them (leaders) only when written assurance is issued," he said.

COCOMI is an umbrella body of several civil bodies of Manipur, formed to spearhead agitation orchestrating strong opposition against any outcome arising out of the final settlement of the Naga political issue that could divide Manipur. The group has intensified its agitation demanding terms and condition of the recently concluded talks be made public and written assurance from the central government not to harm Manipur’s integrity.

As a part of its new strategy to mount pressure on the government, COCOMI called for “lay siege” to residence of all the MLAs in their respective constituencies. In response, a handful of school students tried to gherao the residence of Wangkhem MLA K Meghachandra, which was later dispersed by police.