Guwahati: Union Home Minister Amit Shah has assured the protestors in Manipur that the territorial integrity of the state will be maintained but he refused to commit it in writing.
He gave the assurance to a delegation of the Co-ordination Committee on Manipur Integrity (COCOMI) at a meeting held in New Delhi on Monday night.
The COCOMI, which is a conglomerate of several Imphal-based civil society organisations, has been staging protests since early this month demanding the Centre disclose the contents of its supposed deal with the various Naga rebel outfits. It is also demanding a special session of Manipur Assembly for a discussion on the issue.
The COCOMI is apprehensive that the Centre’s deal with the Nagas might disturb Manipur’s territorial interests given the contentious demand of major rebel group National Socialist Council of Nagalim (NSCN-IM) for the creation of a unified Naga homeland, called “Greater Nagaland”, by integrating the Naga-inhabited areas of Manipur, besides Assam and Arunachal Pradesh, with Nagaland. These states have sizeable Naga populations and they are opposed to the idea of Greater Nagaland.
“He (Shah) said the Centre will protect Manipur’s territorial interests. We demanded he give it in writing but he asked us to believe him saying he is the Union Home Minister. He said he didn’t give it in writing to the Nagas as well,” COCOMI coordinator Sunil Karam told this newspaper.
“We have some doubts. We are not confident. Prime Minister Narendra Modi had also given us an assurance in 2017 of protecting Manipur’s territorial integrity. We will wait and watch what steps the Centre takes,” Karam said.
He said the protestors were apprehensive as the Naga talks were over and the final agreement was pending.
“We will continue with our protests. We are organizing a public convention in Imphal on November 29 to discuss the issue,” Karam added.