Centre rules out ‘Greater Nagaland’

Naga areas under Manipur will remain part of the state: Chidambaram

Dimapur | August 19 : The Government of India today ruled out any move to alter the boundary of States in the Northeast to accommodate the demand for ‘Greater Nagaland’. Union Home Minister P Chidambaram Thursday in Parliament ruled out division of Manipur as demanded by some Naga groups on the ground that pluralistic character of states cannot be wished away, but said efforts are being made to ensure “honour, dignity and equal rights” of the Nagas within the Constitution. It may be mentioned that the Nagas in Manipur under the banner of the United Naga Council (UNC) had resolved to sever all ties with the Manipur State and instead they have been demanding for an ‘alternative arrangement’.

Referring to the demands of the NSCN (IM) for a greater Nagaland by merging parts of Manipur, the Home Minister said “every state in India is pluralistic” and this could not be wished away. Although admitting that Nagas are there in Manipur, Assam, Arunachal Pradesh, Chidambaram said that it will “be inconceivable that we break up the states.”

He asserted there was “no question of altering the integrity of the state of Manipur. Naga areas under Manipur will remain part of the state.” Chidambaram said efforts are underway to resolve the issues concerning the Naga Autonomous District Councils. For the “larger problem” related to Nagaland, Chidambaram said the Centre’s interlocutor R S Pandey has been holding talks which has made progress. He said Prime Minister Manmohan Singh had also received a delegation of Naga leaders.
Replying to a Calling Attention Motion in the Lok Sabha on the economic blockade enforced by Naga groups in Manipur, Chidambaram said the government will not spare any effort to ensure adequate supply of essential commodities. On the situation in Manipur, he said the violence this year was the lowest in a decade, which is an “achievement” of the UPA government. The violence in Manipur has dropped by about 90 per cent, he said, while noting that 466 civilians were killed in 2008, 264 in 2009 and only 47 till July this year. Meanwhile, amid demands for scrapping of the controversial Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA), Home Minister P Chidambaram Thursday said his ministry has proposed amendments to it but these could be affected only after consultations with all concerned.

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