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Nagas Gear Up For Agitation- Separation Cry Shriller

KOHIMA, Jan. 3: The Nagas of eastern Nagaland and Manipur have decided to intensify their agitation for a separate state and a separate administrative unit respectively.

The Eastern Nagaland Peoples Organization (ENPO) said it would organize a series of rallies from Friday in the four backward districts of Kiphire, Longleng, Mon and Tuensang to press for a separate state. It had submitted a memorandum to the Union government in this regard in December.

The United Naga Council (UNC) of Manipur said it would resort to a series of harsher measures to press its demand for separate administrative unit for the Nagas of the state. ‘We will have to take up harsher measures to press the demand for a separate administrative unit for the Nagas,’ the president of the UNC, Samson Remei, said.

Tongthan Khiam, the adviser to ENPO, said they had met Union home minister. P. Chidambaram. Khiam said the key reason for the demand for a separate state was discrimination against the backward indigenous Naga people.

He said they had been discriminated against for long in all aspects like development, job reservation and education, prompting them to ask for a separate state.

The organization comprises Sangtam, Chang, Yimchungur, Konyak, Phom and Khiamniungan indigenous people having a population of 9 lakh. Over 60 per cent of Khiamniugans and about 30 per cent of Konyaks live in Myanmar and parts of Arunachal Pradesh.

ENPO sources said the demand for a separate state would include Changlang and Tirap districts of Arunachal Pradesh.

Of the 60 Assembly seats, there are 20 legislators from the four backward districts.

The UNC said it would resort to harsher measures like blockade of Manipur valley. Asked whether the council would resort to blockade again, Remei said they would have to resort to harsher alternative like blockades.

UNC sources said it had formed a separate committee to chalk out strategies to begin agitation soon.

Remei said, ‘We will never remain with the communal Manipur government,’ that discriminates against the Nagas in all spheres.

He, however, said on the issue of a separate administrative unit for the Nagas of Manipur, the Union government had told the UNC that talks would continue. ‘The Centre said talks will continue,’ he added.

The UNC is doubtful of the Centre’s sincerity in resolving the impasse in the near future as Chidambaram has ruled out altering the boundaries of Manipur.

‘2011 will be a very hectic year for us as we are going to launch a series of agitations,’ Remei said.

He also sought the support and cooperation of the Nagas of Nagaland.

*Reported by H. Chishi

*The original article can be read here

(Courtesy: Telegraph India)

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