The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Manipur alert over night cry
- CM appeals for daytime rallies

Imphal, Jan. 15: The Manipur government today put the state on maximum alert as the United Committee, Manipur decided to go ahead with a plan for a night demonstration tomorrow against the perceived threat to the state’s territorial integrity.

In a grim reminder of a violent uprising two years ago on the issue that claimed 18 lives, several organisations have lined up rallies and discussions to garner public support against any move to break the state.

Chief minister Okram Ibobi Singh said the government had sounded a “maximum alert to prevent any unwanted incident. Our government will take all precautionary measures to prevent any form of violence.”

The UCM yesterday urged the people to raise slogans in unison at 7 pm tomorrow that they would launch a “separatist movement”, if the Centre decides to alter Manipur’s boundary.

Ibobi Singh urged the UCM not to carry out demonstrations at night. He said his government had no objections to peaceful daytime rallies. The monitoring committee of all political parties met today to review developments in New Delhi vis-à-vis the Naga talks.

The meeting, chaired by the Manipur chief minister who is also convener of the committee, resolved to send an all-party delegation to the national capital soon to urge the Prime Minister and the deputy Prime Minister not to disturb Manipur’s boundary while signing a pact with the NSCN (I-M).

The team, to be headed by Ibobi Singh, will brief the Central leaders about the prevailing sentiment in the state on the issue of territorial integrity. The monitoring committee also entrusted the chief minister with the task of convening a special Assembly session to reaffirm its stand on the boundary issue.

The president of the youth front of the Democratic Peoples Party (DPP), P. Premananda, also urged the committee to convene a special session of the Assembly for a resolution.

Hardening its anti-Centre stand, the All-Manipur United Clubs’ Organisation (Amuco) today said the issues of Naga integration and Manipur’s territorial integrity should be resolved directly by the people of Manipur and Nagaland through a dialogue.

Terming the present problem as a creation of the Centre, Amuco president Jagat Thoudam said: “Why should we allow outsiders to solve our problems. We should resolve the long-pending issues by taking into account the reality and perspective of the entire Northeast.” Amuco has organised a public discussion tomorrow titled “North East India — Reality and Perspective”.

Joining the chorus, the Manipur People’s Liberation Front (MPLF), a conglomeration of three militant outfits in the state, today said it would lead the fight for “protection of Manipur’s integrity”, saying the issue was “inseparable from the national liberation struggle”.

Naga talks on Monday

The first round of formal negotiations between the government and Naga leaders is scheduled to begin on Monday. The two-day talks will be the first delegation-level talks between the two sides.

It is not, however, clear whether Arun Shourie, tipped to be the political negotiator for the Centre, will be part of the talks scheduled for next week. The involvement of a political leader in the talks will only take place after the government takes a final decision and names its nominee.

K. Padmanabhaiah, who has so far been dealing with the Naga leaders, may continue to do so at the talks on Monday. Intelligence bureau chief K.P. Singh and secretary (border management) in the home ministry R.C. Jain will also be part of the Indian delegation. The NSCN (I-M) team will be led by its chairman Isak Chisi Swu and general secretary Thuingaleng Muivah.

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