‘No community-based autonomy, assured Shah’

Groups wary of peace deal with NSCN(IM)

A conglomerate of civil society organisations in Manipur on Sunday said Union Home Minister Amit Shah has assured them that the Centre would not approve community-based autonomy in the State.

Non-Naga groups in Manipur are wary of reports that the Centre was contemplating a territorial council each in Manipur and Arunachal Pradesh as a solution to the protracted Naga political issue. Such a council is believed to be an alternative to the idea of a greater Naga homeland purportedly pursued by the Isak-Muivah faction of the National Socialist Council of Nagaland, or NSCN(IM). The Zomi has also been seeking a self-rule area in Manipur modelled on Assam’s Bodoland Territorial Council.

“We made our position very clear on Manipur’s territorial integrity. Mr. Shah assured us that no autonomy will be granted to any community in Assam. He said the Centre is working out a formula to resolve all internal contradictions in Manipur so that people of all ethnicities can work and live together in harmony,” said Coordination Committee on Manipur’s Integrity (COCOMI) leader Khuraijam Athouba.

“We have repeatedly said that we will not compromise on the issue of Manipur’s integrity. We want to cooperate for a settlement to the Naga issue but not at the cost of the interests of people in Manipur,” he said after a meeting with Mr. Shah and Chief Minister Nongthombam Biren Singh in Imphal on Sunday.

The COCOMI has been asking the Centre to make public all the issues concerning Manipur being negotiated with NSCN(IM).

Apart from the COCOMI, delegations from United Naga Council, Kuki Inpi Manipur and Zeliangrong Baudi met Mr. Shah. The last two organisations represent the Kuki and the Zeliang-Liangmai-Rongmei communities respectively.

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