State government to be sidelined in first UNC alternative talks:source


IMPHAL, May 20: The state government is likely to be omitted from the first proposed talk concerning alternative arrangement for Naga inhabited areas of the state between the UNC and the government. Representatives of the state government will be omitted from the proposed talk which is supposed to be held at Imphal on May 30, according to a reliable source.
A reliable source from the state home department stated that the reason behind the exclusion of the state government from the first proposed talks is likely to be a demand made by the United Naga Council to the central government.
The source has further stated that the concerned central ministry has already sent a directive to the state government regarding the demands of the UNC put forth to the ministry and has informed the state government on its expulsion from the first round of talks. The same source further mentioned that the state government will be included in the second round of the talks which is likely to be held in the national capital.
In the meantime, considering the line of initiatives of UNC the state cabinet in a recent meeting reiterated that the territorial integrity of the Manipur state is not open for discussion. The cabinet had further observed that while UNC is talking of alternative arrangements, the democratically elected Autonomous District Councils had been instituted in the hill districts of the Manipur after a long gap of 20 years which is a major step forward towards grass root democracy and its criticism is bereft of any logic, the recent cabinet meeting had observed.
The cabinet decision also proposed UK Bansal, secretary (Internal Security), MHA to be included in the proposed talks.
In the meantime, state government taking the initiative to have a purposeful dialogue with the UNC and government, is lobbying the MHA to send UK Bansal, secy. (IS) and Shambhu Singh Joint Secy. NE in charge of MHA from the MHA side to attend the preliminary round of the talks with the representatives of UNC in the state capital on May 30 the official source added.
It may be mentioned that regarding the issue raised by the UNC regarding an alternative arrangement for Naga inhabited areas of Manipur, the state government in a recent sitting of the cabinet had approved the initiation of the tripartite talk including the UNC and the central government as per a directive from the  Ministry Home Affairs’ Government of India. The official HMA intimation was received by the state government through fax on May 9 which also informed the state government that the union home minister has agreed to meet members of the UNC during his recent May 11 visit to the state including a visit to the Ukhrul district HQ.
It may be recalled that, the union home ministry had first suggested to hold a round table meeting with representatives of Naga bodies in the state to discuss matters relating to the recent Manipur Autonomous District Council elections.
Subsequently, the state government had deputed a state ministerial team including minister DD Thasii, N Biren and Tn Haokip to hold talks with the UNC at Senapati district HQ on August 7, however the Naga body declined to meet with the team.
However Chief Minister O Ibobi Singh further invited representatives of UNC and ANSAM to hold a round table on September 3 last year on their demands, however with the turning down of the invitation by the Naga bodies, the government initiative also failed to bear any positive result.
The official source further mentioned that despite of the several efforts made by the state government to subside the matter, the UNC had submitted a memorandum to the Prime Minister of India on September 14 last year declaring severing of ties with the government of Manipur and changing their demands to an alternative arrangement for Naga inhabited areas of the state.
The source also stated that representatives of the UNC had already met with the union home minister P Chidambaram on September 14 last year in the national capital raising the issue of alternative arrangement. During the same meeting, another meeting was fixed at Senapati on December 13 last between the union ministry and the UNC.


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