The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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NSCN heat on Cong legislators in Manipur

Kohima, Oct. 26: Naga politicians of Manipur will be risking reprisals by militants if they choose to represent national parties in the Assembly elections next year, an MLA from Senapati has said.

With barely three months to go for the polls, the NSCN (Isak-Muivah) has allegedly begun intimidating Naga politicians in the four hill districts of Manipur where the community is the dominant force. R.K. Thekho, a Congress MLA from Senapati district, told The Telegraph that the militant group was issuing threats through the United Naga Council (UNC).

“The NSCN (I-M) does not want us to contest (seats) under the banner of national parties. We are going to face the toughest time (of our careers),” he said.

Thekho, who was here to attend a Naga Hoho-organised conclave, said it was a misconception that Naga politicians of Manipur were not pushing for integration of the Naga-inhabited areas of the region. “We are only 11 in a House of 60,” he said.

The MLA said a private member’s bill on Naga integration would face certain defeat in an Assembly where the majority was opposed to the concept of a “greater Nagaland”.

Thekho said a political agreement, be it in the form of “integration or sovereignty”, was the only way out of the impasse.

He suggested that the role of the Naga Hoho in the process be “redefined with greater responsibilities”.

In Manipur, the United Naga Council is the apex organisation of the community and its alleged rapport with the NSCN (I-M) is the main source of worry for the politicians.

Thekho said the NSCN (I-M) was trying to “wipe out the Congress from the Naga-dominated areas of Manipur” to get even with the United Progressive Alliance at the Centre, whom it has accused of always circumventing the demand for integration of Naga areas.

The Congress is likely to face the heat in Nagaland, too. One of the reasons is that Congress leaders have been vocal against the activities of the NSCN (I-M).

The ruling Democratic Alliance of Nagaland has often accused the Congress of patronising the Khaplang faction of the NSCN and attributed the feud between the two groups to instigation by the party. Shurhozelie, president of the Nagaland People’s Front, accused the Congress of “reactivating” the NSCN (K) for the elections, due a year from now.

The Nagaland unit of the Congress stayed away from the Naga Hoho-organised conclave on October 25.

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