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UNC, State Govt, Center Take First Step To Break Ice

IMPHAL, Sep 21 : Taking, perhaps, the first step towards breaking the ice of discord between the United Naga Council and the Congress led SPF Government, a tripartite talk involving the said two parties as well as the Centre started today at North Block, New Delhi.

The meeting primarily dwelt on the representation submitted by the UNC to the Prime Minister of India to work out alternative arrangements for the Nagas in Manipur. The Naga Convention of July 1, held at Senapati district headquarters this year had adopted a number of resolutions, prominent among which was the announcement to sever all ties with the Government of Manipur.

The declaration was an extension of the call given by the Naga organizations to boycott the election to the Autonomous District Councils, under the 3rd amendment of 2008. It also came not very long after the State Government had barred the proposed visit of NSCN (IM) general secretary Th. Muivah to his birth place in the early part of May this year. The May 6 incident at Mao Gate in which two students were killed in police firing while scores of others were injured and many fled Mao in fear of reprisal from the security forces, added to the tension leading to the boycott call of the ADC election as well as the decision of the State Government not to allow Muivah to visit his birth place at Somdal in Ukhrul district.

It is against this background that the present tripartite talk involving the State Government, UNC and Delhi started today. In a statement issued to the press today, the publicity wing of the UNC said that the meeting was convened by the Union Home Secretary at the instance of the Prime Minister, as instructed by him on September 14, during a meeting with the UNC.

The Government of India took a positive note of the suspension of economic blockade, which has helped in creating a conducive atmosphere for the talks to start, said UNC and added that the Centre assured that the wanted tags, along with the announcements of cash prizes on the heads of UNC president and ANSAM president would be taken up with the authority concerned.

Among others, the Centre also assured that it would take up the demands put up by the UNC which include, conducting a Judicial Inquiry into the May 6 incident at Mao Gate in which two students were killed in police firing and more than 100 injured in the violent incident as well as lifting the prohibitory order under CrPC 144 and militarization of the hill areas.

All these issues would be taken up in right earnest, said UNC, quoting the Centre. Though the details have not been given, UNC said that the venue and time for the next round of talks and the level of delegation of the parties were discussed and agreed upon. Apart from a team of the United Naga Council, the Union Home Secretary and other officials, the Resident Commissioner of Manipur Bhawan based at Delhi, Rakesh Ranjan, IAS represented the State Government during the first round of talk today.

(Courtesy: The Sangai Express)

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