Sep 15, 2006

Nagalim: Constitution Remains Primary but Naga Talks Making Headway

Union Minister, Oscar Fernandez has said that even though the solution of the cease-fire extension won’t come easy, he is optimistic to find out a solution
IMPHAL, Sept 13: Union Minister,Oscar Fernandez has said that even though the solution of the cease-fire extension between the centre and the NSCN (IM) won`t come easy, he is optimistic to find out a solution and every effort is being made to sort out substantial issues involved during the one year extension of the peace talk.

The minister, who made the statement in a press conference, held today at the MPCC office, Imphal however declined to go into details.

Oscar Fernandez, while answering a query on the breaking of ground rules by the NSCN (IM) said that there is a positive direction in this matter and in the coming days ceasefire will be effectively maintained.

On the demands for the separate educational policy for the Nagas in the four hill district of the state by some Naga NGO`s and students, he maintained that education is a state subject and (even) if the NSCN(IM) wanted to include the matter in their substantive issues, the government will abide by the constitution and there is so ambiguity about it.

He also expressed confidence that there will be a forward movement in the peace process with some UG group based in the state within a reasonable time and said a concerted effort is being made in this regard.

He also said that there is a need for public leaders to take initiative for it to succeed as in other states.

On the forthcoming Manipur state Assembly elections, Fernandez said the election commission can take whatever necessary steps to ensure free and fair elections.

He said that CPI, a partner of Congress led SPF government in the state had good relations with the Congress and revealed that he had an informal chat with AB Bardhan, general secretary, CPI yesterday who is also in the state for political reasons. Refering to the merger of the MSCP with the Congress, the minister said, the matter has already been referred to the party high command and it is left to the state leaders to decide.

He also said that while in his stay in the state he had visited RIMS hospital, Khuman Lampak Stadium and Central Manipur University. He was briefed about the state of affairs by the chief minister.

The union minister had also expressed happiness over the signs of fast pace of development in the NE states which he stated is emerging towards a world class generation.

With the launching of the proposed sports academy he further expected more international level sports personality from the state. On the other hand, he said that the centre will extend all possible help to upgrade the RIMS in a world class standard medical institute