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Manipur urges Centre to share draft accord with NSCN-IM

<p class="p1">The Manipur government yesterday said that it had earlier requested the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) to make available a copy of the draft agreement with the National Socialist Council of Nagaland-Isak-Muivah (NSCN-IM) to the state government to facilitate it to express its views, an official release said.</p>
<p class="p1">An official release issued by the home department of the Manipur government said that the state government had earlier requested the MHA to make available a copy of the draft agreement with the NSCN-IM to the state government at least one month before the date fixed for a consultation so that it may be in a position to express its views and comments.</p>
<p class="p1">"On the Naga issue, there is no discussion yet between Manipur and the Central government," the release said.</p>
<p class="p1">According to officials in Nagaland, a nine-member team of NSCN-IM led by its chief negotiator Thuingaleng Muivah has been holding informal talks with the Centre since early last week in New Delhi as a prelude to the formal parleys expected to begin soon. Some significant development on the issue is expected by September.</p>
<p class="p1">While officials of the Home Ministry and the Nagaland government refused to say anything on the talks, the NSCN-IM delegation has expressed resentment against Nagaland Governor R.N. Ravi, who is also the Centre's interlocutor for parleys with various Naga outfits.</p>
<p class="p1">The NSCN-IM and intelligence sources said that while many of the 31 demands of the Nagas have been almost resolved, differences remain over a separate flag and separate Constitution.</p>
<p class="p1">Manipur Chief Minister N Biren Singh had earlier asserted that the Centre's ongoing peace talks with the NSCN-IM in Delhi won't affect the territorial boundaries of his state.</p>
<p class="p1">Various civil society organizations in Manipur, Arunachal Pradesh and Assam have strongly voiced their opposition to any decision that affected the territorial boundaries of these states.</p>
<p class="p1">United Committee Manipur (UCM), one of the influential civil society groups, has again urged the government and state leaders to make their stand clear on the issue.</p>
<p class="p1">The UCM said it always welcomed the peace process in the north-eastern region but would not compromise on any agreement that affected the territorial integrity of Manipur in any way.</p>
<p class="p1">In another development, the All Arunachal Pradesh Students' Union has reiterated that there are no Nagas in their state, as claimed by the NSCN-IM, and asserted that any "territorial changes" while finding a solution to the Naga problem would not be tolerated.</p>
<p class="p1">Nagalim, a long-pending demand of the NSCN-IM for a separate Naga state, encompasses the Naga-inhabited areas of Myanmar as well as parts of northeastern states bordering Nagaland. The Nagalim map the outfit published a few years back includes Tirap, Changlang, Longding, Anjaw, Lohit, and Namsai districts of Arunachal Pradesh.</p>
<p class="p1">Students and social organizations in Assam are also opposed to any settlement that affects the territorial boundaries of the state.</p>
<p class="p1">The NSCN-IM has held a number of rounds of negotiations with the central government in Delhi and even outside India after signing a ceasefire pact in August 1997. The Modi government signed a "framework agreement" with the NSCN-IM in 2015.</p>.