Tripartite talks now on track

Imphal | June 21 : The government of Manipur has decided to go ahead with the upcoming proposed June 30 talks at Senapati headquarters involving the Union government, state government and United Naga Council despite reservation and protest from certain section of the people of Manipur.
The cabinet has deliberated threadbare regarding talks with UNC and has decided to go ahead with the proposed talks on June 30, informed the Congress led Secular Progressive Front (SPF) coalition government’s spokesperson N Biren Tuesday after the hurriedly convened cabinet meeting to decide on the matter.
He informed that the talks which were formerly known as “tripartite talks” will now be bilateral as the Union government will only facilitate in the meetings and partake only in the capacity of an observer.
Manipur cabinet gives green signal for talks with UNC on June 30
“UNC is also a society in Manipur and they are Manipur family too”, he said adding that the government being the guardian of the masses in the state every constituent therein needs to be consulted and their grievances sought to be addressed.
The government’s spokesperson further said that the state government will be led by chief secretary DS Poonia at the June 30 talks and commissioner of home department LP Golmei is expected to be part of that team.
It is noteworthy that the cabinet decision today has come close on the heels of the home ministry relaying a message to the state government that UNC has served a strong ultimatum.
Reports have appeared in local newspapers that the government has sought to postpone indefinitely the proposed talks to a later date in view of the law and order situation in the state and the refusal of UNC to spell out a concrete agenda for the meet.
However, the UNC ultimatum warned that if the proposed talk is not convened as scheduled, the council will withdraw from further talks.
While an important agenda of the UNC remains to be “alternative arrangement” for the Nagas in Manipur outside the purview of the state government, the government has been very clear that the territorial integrity of the state is sacrosanct and inviolable regardless of talks or not.
Significantly, the government of Manipur has come under a lot of criticism from civil society in its dealing with UNC and its demand of “alternative arrangement” with United Committee Manipur (UCM), recently asked the state government to pull out of further talks with UNC.