Naga people rally for early political solution

Imphal, March 3 (IANS) At a time when the central government is talking to leaders of the National Socialist Council of Nagaland (NSCN-IM), thousands of Naga people organised mass rallies in neighbouring Manipur demanding an early solution to the vexed Naga problem.

The rallies, held simultaneously in the four hill districts of Manipur Tuesday afternoon, were organised by the United Naga Council (UNC), a socio-cultural Naga body, a police officer told reporters here Wednesday.

At the end of the rallies, memoranda demanding early settlement of the Naga issue were sent to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh through the deputy commissioners of Tamenglong, Chandel, Ukhrul and Senapati districts.

Rallyists held banners that read: ‘We want peace’, ‘We demand a solution’, ‘Give peace a chance’ and ‘Naga integration is a must’.

The Nagas included students, social workers and church activists. All shops and private offices in the four district towns were closed during the peace march.

A five-member delegation of the Isak-Muivah faction of the NSCN-IM led by general secretary Thuingaleng Muivah arrived in New Delhi Saturday night from the Netherlands to hold talks with the Indian government.

The NSCN (IM) leaders Tuesday met Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Home Minister P. Chidambaram and discussed the pending issues.

The last round of inconclusive peace talks between the central government and the Naga outfit was held in March 2009 in Zurich.

The NSCN-IM, one of the oldest and most powerful of about 30 rebel groups in India’s northeast, earlier fought for an independent homeland for the Nagas. It has scaled it down to a Greater Nagaland, proposed to be formed by merging Naga populated areas of adjoining states to Nagaland.

The governments of Assam, Manipur and Arunachal Pradesh have rejected the demand for unification of Naga areas. The central government too has rejected the demand.

The NSCN (IM) entered into a ceasefire with New Delhi in August 1997.

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