In August 2015, when Prime Minister Modi announced the Naga peace deal, he said the agreement did not just mark the end of a problem, but the "beginning of a new future." 

 

Monday's attack on the Manipur Chief Minister in Ukhrul doesn't seem to point towards a future in the right direction.

 

The Prime Minister then said: "We will not only try to heal wounds and resolve problems but also be your partner as you restore your pride and prestige. Today's agreement is a shining example of what we can achieve when we deal with each other in a spirit of equality and respect, trust and confidence; when we seek to understand concerns and try to address aspirations; when we leave the path of dispute and take the high road of dialogue".

 

Though the government was clear that the agreement was with Nagas and not just the armed group NSCN(IM), it had a lot of ambiguity, given the contested identities. The NSCN(IM) was indeed the signatory, and that being the case, Ukhrul has been the virtual headquarters of the IM faction and it is unlikely that the rival faction NSCN(K) would enter this turf to launch an attack on Ibobi Singh.

 

Ukhrul was tense with a 24-hour 'public curfew' called by the Thankul Nagalong (TN) protesting against the Chief Minister's visit. The rank and file of NSCN (IM) is from the Thangkul tribe. Okram Ibobi Singh along with his council of ministers including Deputy Chief Minister Gaikhangam, I. Hemochandra, Korungthang, Govindas, Preshaw Shimray and Victor Keishing were visiting the town for the inauguration of a 100-bed district hospital.

 

The delegation was held at the helipad for over an hour because of the violent protests on their way to the hospital. Later suspected militants started firing when the Chief Minister was being airlifted on a chopper after failing to visit the venue. One person has been injured though the Chief Minister has escaped unhurt.