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Delhi cold to new NE states

Imphal, Dec. 16: The Centre, it appears, is not prepared to entertain increasing demands for statehood in some states of the Northeast.

A senior official in the Union home ministry told this correspondent that the states in the region are too small to be broken up to create new states.

“It is very, very difficult to even contemplate that you can create a state out of a state of a minimum size,” the official said, indicating that the geographical areas of the states in the region are not feasible for creation of more states.

The official was reacting to increasing demands for separate states in states like Manipur, Assam, Nagaland and Meghalaya. The statehood demands stem mostly from ethnic issues.

The Kuki community in Manipur, with a population of 614,143, is seeking a separate state having a geographical area of 12,958 square km covering Chandel and Churachandpur districts, Sadar Hills in Senapati district and portions of Ukhrul and Tamenglong districts.

The United Naga Council, the apex body of Nagas in Manipur, is seeking an “alternative” administrative arrangement for Nagas living in Manipur outside the purview of Manipur government.

In Nagaland, the Eastern Nagaland People’s Organisation is pushing for a separate state — Frontier Nagaland — out of four districts having 20 Assembly constituencies.

Earlier this year, Assam was on the boil over the demand for four states — one for the Bodos, one for the Karbis, one for the Dimasas and one for Koch Rajbongshis. In Meghalaya, the Garo Hills State Movement Committee has been campaigning for a separate Garoland state.

While some of the demands are older than the Centre’s decision to grant Telangana statehood, the decision has given an impetus and encourage communities to make separate state demands.

“I think you cannot be having five people and claim a state. For a new state there should be sufficient area, sufficient population and sufficient resources so that the new state can ultimately be able to sustain itself,” the home ministry official said.

The official considered every village in India itself was a republic and sovereign which contributed in making the country a sovereign democratic republic.

Asked to specify whether he was ruling out possibility of new states coming up in the Northeast in future, the official said he was not ruling out anything.

He, however, quickly added that all the states in the Northeast have a mixed kind of society and polity with different communities living together. He made it very clear that there was not enough population or geographical areas for meeting the rising demands for separate states in the region.