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ENPO shuns meet, govt puts off talks

New Delhi, Jan. 18: Tripartite talks with the Eastern Naga People’s Organisation, which wants bifurcation of Nagaland, was put off after it refused to attend a meeting that included the Nagaland government.

The ENPO, which is demanding a separate state of Frontier Nagaland comprising four districts, had refused to come for a meeting on January 7, demanding bilateral instead of tripartite talks.

Following ENPO’s refusal to come for the meeting, the home ministry said it would not call one unless the ENPO stated what it wants.

Sources in the ministry said the ENPO should write to the MHA explaining the rationale for not accepting a tripartite arrangement. All demands for bifurcation of states, including some from Assam, are addressed through a tripartite mechanism that includes the state government. “Let the ENPO come out with it openly. Let them write to us on this,” an MHA official said.

Toshi Wangtung, secretary of the ENPO’s steering committee, constituted to look into the demand for bifurcation of Nagaland, said, “The understanding with the Centre was for bilateral talks. We want a bilateral meeting and need some assurances from the government of India on this.”

The ENPO had taken up the issue of bifurcation with the Centre in 2010, expressing unhappiness with the existing arrangement as tribes in Mon, Tuensang, Kiphire and Longleng districts remained backward.