New Delhi, Aug. 31: The Centre, the Manipur government and the United Naga Council (UNC) today held the fourth round of tripartite talks on an alternative arrangement for Manipur Nagas outside the state administration.
Government sources said the talks did not reach any concrete conclusion but the parleys were not confrontationist and the Centre would take the state government’s views on the UNC’s list of demands before the next round of talks.
The central team was led by Ajay Chadha, special secretary (internal security) in the home ministry, while the Manipur team was led by chief secretary D.S. Poonia. The UNC team was led by its president L. Adani.
The UNC made it clear that its demand was “limited to the Nagas in Manipur” and could not “undercut or upstage the negotiation on the all-encompassing Indo-Naga negotiation taking place at a higher level”. It also demanded that the talks with the NSCN (Isak-Muivah) should be expedited.
A source in the Union government said, “We have said that giving in to the demands of a single NSCN faction would be difficult as different factions have different demands.”
Accusing the government of dithering, the UNC expressed displeasure over the delay in resumption of the talks with it. “It reflects disrespect for the democratic process of dialogue on the part of the Union and the state governments,” it stated in a release.
The UNC also submitted a “postulate of the demand” for the alternative arrangement, stating that the solution should be outside the government of Manipur. This is a point of contention as the state government has made it clear that Manipur’s territorial integrity would be retained.
The Centre is also learnt to have told the delegation that the administration in the autonomous councils in the Naga-dominated hill districts should be allowed to carry out development.
The next meeting will be held “at a venue in the hills of Manipur”.
The UNC had also raised its demand for alternative administrative arrangement for Nagas in Manipur when BJP president Nitin Gadkari visited the state recently.