PM assures Manipur delegation of territorial integrity

Imphal: The Centre will not compromise on Manipur's territorial integrity while working out a 'peace package' with the NSCN-IM.

"Assurance that the territorial boundary of Manipur would not be compromised has been given earlier and I give the same now," Prime Minister Manmohan Singh said to an all-party delegation from Manipur yesterday.

The 15-member delegation led by Chief Minister O Ibobi Singh placed three points before the Prime Minister during the meeting – protection of state territory, handing over an NSCN-IM cadre, who allegedly molested a Manipuri film actress in state's Chandel district and introduction of inner line permit system to protect the identity of Manipuris, said the delegation members in Delhi when contacted today.

"The Prime Minister condemned the alleged molestation of the film actress in public view by NSCN-IM cadre Livingstone Anal during a musical concert and said action would be taken to arrest Anal and hand him over to state authorities," two senior delegation members – M Nara, CPI state unit secretary and S Tikendra, BJP state unit vice president said.

Anal could not be arrested immediately by Manipur government since NSCN-IM was involved in peace talks with the Centre, official sources had earlier said.

The Prime Minister also said he would instruct relevant authorities to remove NSCN-IM camps, if any, from Manipur territory since ceasefire between the Centre and NSCN-IM was not in force in Manipur but only in Nagaland.

 Earlier, Union Home Minister Sushil Kumar Shinde met the delegation members yesterday afternoon before their meeting with the Prime Minister.

Shinde asked the Assam Rifles Director General Lt Gen Ranbir Singh to crack down on all unauthorised camps of the NSCN-IM in Manipur.

The Home Minister also assured the delegation that action would be taken if NSCN-IM cadres moved around with arms.

On the issue of introduction of inner line permit system, Shinde said that the Centre would give priority to the topic and would do everything possible to protect their identity.

Official sources said the issue of protection of territorial integrity has come up again following recent media reports that the Centre is likely to settle Naga issue with the NSCN-IM before the Assembly elections in Nagaland in February/March.

The main demand of the NSCN-IM is integration of all Naga-settled areas of Manipur, Assam and Arunachal Pradesh with neighbouring Nagaland.

The delegation members included representatives from major political parties – Manipur People's Party, BJP, Nationalist Congress Party, JD(S) and others.