Nagalim: Fernandes Non-Committal on Manipur Integrity in Nagalim Issue
"The Centre is trying to find a solution to the Naga issue by holding talks with the NSCN (IM). We hope the peace talk would continue and succeed," Fernandes, who arrived in Imphal on Saturday on a two-day visit to strengthen his party JD (U) said before leaving Imphal on Sunday morning.
Asked about the question of Manipur's territorial integrity in the face of the Naga demand for integration of contiguous Naga-inhabited areas Fernandes said, "We have not reached that stage. Territory lies in the future. At the moment everybody is concerned more about how to bring peace," Fernandes said. "I am for integrity of the country. The country should not be fragmented," he said.
The NDA leader also ruled out the holding of a plebiscite, as being demanded by United National Liberation Front (UNLF), said, "You can not have a plebiscite without changing the Constitution. Our Constitution does not provide for plebiscite. The Constitution cannot be amended casually on the demand of somebody. It will have to be a serious amendment," he said.
UNLF supremo Sanayaima in an interview in Hong Kong had asked India to hold a plebiscite to end the ongoing armed conflict in Manipur through democratic means. Defence minister Pranab Mukherjee during a press conference held at Leimakhong during his recent visit to Manipur also already flatly rejected the UNLF demand.
Fernandes supported deployment of army in insurgency infested areas. He termed insurgency as a form of terrorism and it needs strategy to deal with this kind of terrorism. It will take time in finding a solution to the problem of insurgency, he said.
Fernandes met JD (U) leaders of Manipur on Saturday and Sunday
morning to discuss the forthcoming Manipur assembly elections. He said that
his party would soon meet to finalise issues to be taken up during the elections.