DIMAPUR, June 9: The Naga areas in Manipur should not be touched in the event of any new administrative set-up in the state, said Manipur minister Awangbow Newmai.
Newmai, who led a team of all the 10 Naga MLAs of Manipur to New Delhi to discuss the ongoing situation in Manipur with union home minister Amit Shah on the invitation of the latter, said at a press conference at Chomoukedima on Friday that this message was conveyed to Shah when they met him on June 7 evening.
The Naga MLAs made a stopover in Chumoukedima on their return from Delhi yesterday and held a press conference today.
“In the event of any arrangement for separate administration, our Naga areas should not be touched because that has been a contention for many years. There had been a lot of issues and problems in the past when a separate administration was made in Manipur,” he said.
Saying that the team had a meaningful discussion with Shah on the present situation in Manipur, Newmai, who is also the convener of Naga MLAs Forum Manipur, said they told Shah that in case of any new administrative arrangement, the Naga people should be consulted.
In response, he said Shah assured that all the communities of Manipur will be properly consulted to bring a consensus if any plan is made for separate administration. Shah also said peace has to come first and only then the rest will be discussed, he said.
The Naga legislators appreciated Shah for his prompt action to bring normalcy to Manipur but added that the government of India should do more.
Newmai said from the Nagas’ side, as legislators, they have been trying to reach out to everyone at the government and civil level to show their concern for peace and to bring the ongoing violence in Manipur to an end at the earliest.
He said they are trying to reach out to the communities concerned to come together and engage in negotiations if there is any issue.
“The Naga people are peace-loving people. We never start any war and we do not any war with anybody also. We also do not want our friends and neighbours to engage in any war,” he said.
To a query, Newmail said the Naga MLAs made no demand for any separate administrative arrangement. However, he said in case of any arrangement for the Nagas, it should be based on the Naga peace process and final solution.