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Ibobi to affirm Manipur stand

Imphal, Oct. 19: Manipur chief minister Okram Ibobi Singh today rushed to New Delhi to apprise Union home minister Sushil Kumar Shinde of the tension in Manipur after reports of a possible settlement between the National Socialist Council of Nagalim (Isak-Muivah) and the Centre in the near future.

Manipur is apprehensive of possible interference in its administrative affairs when the settlement is made, as the NSCN (I-M) has not given up the demand for some form of unity of the Nagas living in Nagaland, Manipur, Assam and Arunachal Pradesh.

Seven non-Congress political parties also discussed today the situation arising out of the report of the likely agreement between the NSCN (I-M) and the Centre.

A delegation of the parties, including the BJP, CPI, Trinamul Congress and Manipur Peoples Party will call on governor Gurbachan Jagat tomorrow to urge him to safeguard Manipur’s boundary.

As soon as Ibobi Singh left Imphal, the United Committee Manipur (UCM), which is spearheading the campaign to safeguard Manipur’s boundary, warned both New Delhi and the Ibobi Singh government against any settlement that could harm the political, social and economic interest of Manipur while making any settlement with the NSCN (I-M).

“We will not accept any agreement that allows outside interference in the internal affairs of Manipur and also disturbing the boundary of Manipur. We would like to remind the government that if any settlement harms the interest of Manipur and disturbs the peaceful co-existence and communal harmony, the UCM will raise the demand to restore Manipur’s pre-merger status,” UCM president Y. Nabachandra told reporters today.

Manipur was a princely state before it was merged with India on October 15, 1949.

An official source said the Ibobi Singh cabinet reaffirmed the stand against changing Manipur’s boundary and Ibobi Singh went to Delhi to remind Union home minister Sushil Kumar Shinde of the sentiments of the people of Manipur on the territorial integrity issue.

Ibobi Singh had admitted that the home minister sought his government’s co-operation, but claimed no detail of the progress of the NSCN (I-M) talks was shared with him by the home ministry.

“We have nothing against any group, any community or anyone. We will welcome a settlement of the Naga issue. But we want the Centre to make the progress of the talk transparent and the points of agreement reached so far should be made known to the people of Manipur,” Nabachandra said.

The committee also warned the Manipur units of national political parties to pressure their parties to take a firm stand against disturbing Manipur’s boundary.

“If the Manipur units do not act responsibly, we will not allow the national parties to operate in Manipur,” the UCM leader warned.