Sep 22, 2006

Naga: Mr. Fernandes Hopes for Early Solution to Naga Issue

The Union Minister of State has hoped that the issues of the vexed Naga would be discussed and sorted out within the span of one year ceasefire extension
IMPHAL, Sept 20 – Union Minister of State, Oscar Fernandes has hoped that the substantial issues of the vexed Naga issue would be discussed and sorted out within the span of one year ceasefire extension between the Government of India and National Socialist Council of Nagalim(Isaac Muivah).Fernandes, who represents the Indian Government in the peace talks with NSCN(IM), however, declined to reveal the ‘progress’ of the nine year-old peace process saying, “it is not the right time to give your answer”.

The peace talks between NSCN(IM) and GOI was started in August 1997. The visiting senior Congressman is also aware of the violation of the ceasefire ground rules by some armed cadres of the NSCN(IM). Fernandes also expressed that they are expecting responses from the Manipur-based underground outfits for a meaningful dialogue within some reasonable time.

Speaking to media persons on the concluding day of his visit to Manipur here at the Congress Bhavan, Fernandes said the issue of affiliation of Manipur schools under Nagaland Board was purely a “State subject” and Centre is not going to do anything about it.

Mention may be made here that United Naga Council and All Naga Students Association Manipur have been demanding affiliation of over 100 private schools in four Naga-inhabited districts–Senapati, Ukhrul, Tamenglong and Chandel districts under the Nagaland Board of Secondary Education as part of their move to integrate Naga-inhabited areas under one administrative unit. “Similarly, the Centre is not going to collect the Hill house taxes”, he said adding the State Government of Manipur is capable of tackling the issues.

The Congress will be forging a pre-poll alliance with the Communist Party of India in the forthcoming poll in Manipur. For this a formal talk was held with the CPI leader A B Bardhan, who was also in Imphal recently, he added.