All-party delegation from Manipur to meet PM on Naga talks

Imphal, Jan 15: An all-party delegation from Manipur, led by Chief Minister Okram Ibobi Singh, will meet Prime Minister Manmohan Singh Wednesday to discuss the ongoing peace talks with the National Socialist Council of Nagaland-Isak-Muivah (NSCN-IM).

The delegation, comprising members of the state’s parties barring Naga People’s Front, would also meet Home Minister Sushilkumar Shinde.

“A delegation of representatives from 14 different political parties would meet the prime minister and home minister to discuss on the outcome of ongoing peace talks between NSCN-IM and the centre,” Deputy Chief Minister G. Gaikhangam told IANS.

Rights group United Committee of Manipur (UCM) had earlier threatened to launch a mass campaign in case the state and central governments acted in a manner that adversely affected the state’s people.

Ibobi Singh’s decision to lead a delegation to New Delhi follows media reports hinting that the central government has arrived at a settlement with the NSCN-IM to sort out Naga insurgency issue.

The NSCN-IM has been fighting for an independent Nagaland for over six decades. It later demanded a ‘Greater Nagaland’ by slicing off parts of three neighbouring states to unite 1.2 million Nagas. The demand is opposed by Assam, Manipur and Arunachal Pradesh.

New Delhi and the NSCN-IM entered into a ceasefire in August 1997.

The two have held more than 50 rounds of peace talks to end one of South Asia’s longest-running insurgencies that has killed 25,000 people since 1947.

Apart from discussing on the outcome of the Naga talks, Gaikhangam said the delegation would also seek the government’s intervention for the arrest of NSCN-IM member R.T. Livingstone Anal, who was accused of sexually molesting a film actress at a public function at Chandel district Dec 18.

The molestation has led to a widespread protests in the state and curfew had to be imposed in three districts.

IANS