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Naga talks will not hurt Manipur: Amit Shah

Naga talks will not hurt Manipur: Amit Shah
Amit Shah
Correspondent IMPHAL, Nov 26 | Publish Date: 11/26/2019 12:08:11 PM IST

WITH NO WRITTEN ASSURANCE, COCOMI TO CONTINUE PROTESTS

The Centre has once again given a verbal assurance to protect Manipur’s interests and territory while settling the vexed Naga political issue.

The verbal assurance was given by Union home minister Amit Shah during a talk with an 18-member delegation of Coordination Committee on Manipur Integrity (COCOMI) at New Delhi on Monday night.

However, in the absence of written assurance, COCOMI today announced that it will continue its ongoing alert protest on Naga peace talks in a symbolic way.

The delegation of COCOMI held a talk with the Union home minister Amit Shah on Monday night on the latter’s invitation to deliberate on the Naga peace talks.

The apex body of major CSOs of the state has been spearheading an alert campaign in case Manipur’s interests and territory is affected as a result of peace negotiation between Centre and Naga rebel groups, particularly with the NSCN(I-M).

The talk was held in the presence of Union minister of state for home affairs G Kishan Reddy, BJP national general secretary (organisation) BL Santosh, Union home secretary Ajaykumar Bhalla, joint secretary (NE) Satyendra Garg, Manipur chief minister N Biren Singh and education minister Th Radheshyam among others.

COCOMI, in a release, claimed that during the talk, the Union home minister gave assurance that there will be no change in the “territorial integrity” and “administrative setup” of Manipur because of the Naga peace talks.

However, the Union home minister turned down providing a written assurance insisted by COCOMI, saying that such thing (giving written assurance) was never done, the release signed by COCOMI assistant coordinator (media), Jitendra Ningombam stated.

The meeting that lasted from 10 pm till 11.15pm deliberated on issues surrounding the Naga peace talks that have created confusion and apprehension among the people of Manipur.

Before the formal deliberation began, COCOMI submitted a memorandum to the Union home minister asserting Manipur people’s firm stand for the territorial integrity of the state.

While Amit Shah convinced the delegation that there will be no change in Manipur’s territorial integrity and administrative setup because of the peace talks, he assured that when it comes to matter related with Manipur during the peace negotiation, Centre will hold prior consultation with COCOMI, state government and political parties before taking a final decision of the government.

Santosh opined that the assurance given by the home minister that too in the presence of officials of the Central government was enough to be trusted.

There was no reason for distrust by the people when COCOMI and the state government convey the assurance given by the home minister, he said adding that is people did not trust COCOMI and the state government,  whom will the people of Manipur trust. 

However, COCOMI citied some a instances when in the signing of infamous Bangkok declaration which Centre agreed to extend the ceasefire coverage without territorial limit during the regime of Atal Bihari Vajpayee, people of the state have less trust with the Central leadership.

The word “without territorial limit” was deleted as conveyed by the Centre through the chief ministers of Northeast states but when it comes to peace talks, Naga inhabited areas were sometimes covered, COCOMI said.

Above, even after the Naga Framework Agreement was signed in 2015, the Centre or the state government had never put an official statement regarding the contents of the agreement. Such caused trust deficit  on the Central leaderships by the people of the state, COCOMI leaders said while justifying their demand written assurance.

COCOMI, in the release, added that in the absence of written assurance from the Union home minister, the apex body was not fully satisfied the outcome of the talk so they have decided to hold a public meeting on November 29 to deliberate on the outcome of  Monday night’s talk with Union home minister.

COCOMI stated  alert protests will be continuing but in symbolic way and appealed the people to continue alert protests in their respective localities. The COCOMI further urged people to refrain from using slogans which will hurt the sentiment of any of the ethnic community living together in harmony since time immemorial during the protests.

The boycott to Manipur Sangai Festival which has  kick-started will also continue, it announced.

Sources said that after the meeting with COCOMI delegation, state chief minister N Biren Singh and his accomplices held another round meeting with the Union home minister.

What had transpired in the meeting could not be found till the time of filing this report. 

The COCOMI delegation currently camping in the national capital was planning to return to Imphal on Wednesday.

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