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Amuco asks Delhi to lay off

Imphal, Jan. 22: Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee’s assurance to a Manipur delegation yesterday failed to ease apprehension over the boundary with the All-Manipur United Clubs’ Organisation (Amuco) saying problems in the Northeast are best resolved through a “people-to-people dialogue, and not by New Delhi”.

Blasting the Centre, Amuco iterated its stand that any move to redraw the boundary was fraught with the dangers of an instant rebellion.

The Manipur Peace and Integrity Council, a conglomeration of several organisations in Imphal East, has lined up a sit-in protest tomorrow in the state to demand protection of the state’s boundary. It also pledged support to the “separation from India” call given by the United Committee, Manipur, in the event of the state being reorganised as part of an agreement with the NSCN (I-M).

Amid the simmering dissent, Manipur observed its statehood day yesterday with a function at Bir Tikendrajit Park here.

Rejecting the North Eastern Areas (Reorganisation) Act of 1971 granting statehood to Manipur, Amuco said such Acts were “mere ploys of the Centre to fool the people of Manipur”.

“Manipur was an independent country when it was annexed by India in 1949. By granting the so-called Part C status, Union territory and then statehood, the government of India has been trying to gain legitimacy in deciding the future of Manipur,” Amuco said.

Amuco, spearheading the movement for the protection of Manipur’s territorial integrity, said the Centre “was playing with the fate of the people by directly threatening the unity and territorial integrity of the state”. It said the people had so far allowed the Centre to “play with their fates” by accepting such Acts.

“It was a sad day (the merger) when we meekly accepted the government of India’s attempt to decide the future of the people of Manipur. This, despite the fact that Manipur is a historically-evolved state,” Amuco said.

Organisations here are undertaking poster and leaflet campaigns as well as door-to-door canvassing to strengthen unity and communal harmony vis-à-vis the state’s territorial integrity.

Earlier, terming the problem as a creation of the Centre, Amuco president Jagat Thoudam had 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.”

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

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