Chidambaram denies reports on Naga supra-state body

GUWAHATI: Union home minister P Chidambaram on Saturday denied the report that the centre was planning to offer a supra-state body as a solution to the peace talks with NSCN (IM). Chidambaram informed Manipur chief minister Okram Ibobi Singh in a meeting at North Block in New Delhi on Saturday that home ministry had no such arrangement for forming the supra-state body for Nagas.

The home minister informed that his ministry had not issued any statement in the matter. He was surprised to see the news reports when Ibobi Singh showed the press clippings, and said it was mischievous and baseless report, according to a statement issued by Manipur government.

Ibobi Singh rushed Delhi on Friday to meet the Prime Minister, home minister and Congress president Sonia Gandhi. He met Sonia Gandhi before meeting the home minister. Sonia Gandhi was also surprised to see the news report, a senior Manipur government official said. The CM, however, could not meet the Prime Minister as Manmohan Singh was in Bali to attend the 9th India-ASEAN summit.

In a letter addressed to Chidambaram, the CM stated, "We have not been consulted in regards to any arrangement which is reportedly being worked out with the NSCN (IM). We are concerned that if the reports are true, it may lead to a sharp and widespread public agitation which may turn violent and have serious implications on the already complicated law and order situation of Manipur."

The CM reminded Chidambaram that the state government had repeatedly and consistently opposed any arrangement which would impact on the territorial integrity of Manipur. Ibobi Singh said the state government of Assam and Arunachal Pradesh had also opposed any understanding with NSCN (IM), which would impact the territorial integrity of the state. The CM urged the Centre to issue immediate clarification to dispel any misunderstanding on the matter.

The home minister was also informed that various civil society groups in Manipur were alarmed about the issue, leading to speculations and apprehensions among the people. Ibobi Singh requested the home minister to consult the state government before considering any understanding or arrangement which the Centre might have been contemplating to arrive at with the NSCN (IM). Ibobi Singh also conveyed to Chidambaram that Manipur's territorial integrity cannot be compromised under any circumstances.