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Govt Sets Aside Alternative Arrangement Agenda, Naga Body Unhappy

Chief Secretary DS Poonia asnwering queries from the media and a UNC leader meeting the media. Image Credit: Sangai Photo

IMPHAL, Jun 30: The demand of the United Naga Council (UNC) for an alternative administrative arrangement for the Nagas living in Manipur has received a severe blow with both the State and Central Governments categorically setting aside the demand during today’s tripartite talk at Senapati district head-quarters.

The outcome of the talk is in line with the earlier posture struck by Chief Minister O Ibobi Singh that a separate administrative model for the Nagas of Manipur is out of the question.

Under heavy security cover, the talk involving State and Central Government officials and the UNC was held at the office premises of the Deputy Commissioner (Senapati).

Straight after the two-hour long discourse that ended around 12.30 pm, Sword Vashum, chairman of the ‘Committee for Alternative Arrangement’ who led the nine-member UNC team said the talk was not fruitful as the Government has not conceded to the alternative arrangement demand.

“We have not asked for anything that is clouded by doubt and uncertainty and we are not demanding anything unconstitutional. What we are asking for is provided in the Constitution,” Vashum said adding that it is not within the domain of the State of Manipur to grant the demand.

He nevertheless said that the committee will sit and decide as to what steps would be taken in view of the talk’s outcome.

Chief Secretary DS Poonia, who led the State delegation, declined to accept the Naga body’s demand saying that the Government has extended its efforts in all round development in the hills.

He said the Government, besides explaining the Government’s comprehensive developmental plans in the hills, has also mentioned about the devolution of power given to the Autonomous District Councils. “Everything has been done to address grievances,” he added.

Shambhu Singh, Joint Secretary (Northeast) in the Ministry of Home Affairs, who was one of the four representatives of the Central Government team, echoed Poonia saying the Centre cannot fulfill the Naga body’s demand.

“We cannot understand such alternative arrangement demand and the Central Government cannot comply with it. We are not the observer of the talk and we only act as its felicitator,” the Central official said.

Though the UNC, a conglomerate of several Naga civil bodies of the State, is firm on its alternative administrative arrangement demand, Ibobi Singh has flatly stated that his Government will not give in to it notwithstanding the issue being incorporated in the talk agenda.

On Tuesday, Congress Working Committee member and in-charge of Manipur, Luizinho Faleiro said the party would help in bringing about a settlement to the UNC’s demand.

The last round of the tripartite talk was held at the same venue on December 3 last year. In the face of its growing demand, the UNC had announced the decision of the Naga people to sever tie with the State Govt.

(Courtesy: The Sangai Express)

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