Sadar Hills talk remains inconclusive

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IMPHAL, August 4: Despite the prevailing mayhem in the Sadar Hills area, talks between the state government and mediator of the Sadar Hills Districthood Demand Committee (SHDDC) turned out inconclusive with no concrete assurance from the former on the status of declaration of a seperate Sadar Hills district.

A meeting was held at the Chief Minister’s secretariat with the mediator of the SHDDC and the government from 2 pm this afternoon which lasted for about 2 hours.

According to highly reliable sources, the mediators who represented the SHDDC include Paokai Haokip, former MP, Tongkhothang Kipgen, president Sadar Hills Chiefs’ Association (SAHILCA) and Thangkam Misao-president Sadar Hills District Congress Committee.

While, Chief Minister O. Ibobi Singh, power minister Pungzathang Tonsing, tourism and IPR minister TN. Haokip and other top ranking officials of the state represented the state government.      

The source informed that during the meet the mediators strongly urged for the government’s immediate attention to the burning issue of the seperate Sadar Hills district demand.

Further according to the source, the mediators reiterated that in order to give protection to the hill people under the Constitution of India, an Act of Parliament called Manipur (Hills Areas) Autonomous District Council Act, 1971 was enacted prior to the Manipur statehood.

The act was implemented in letter and spirit in all the other districts except Sadar Hills Autonomous District Council.

Owing to the prolonged failure of the government to implement the act, it apprised that the Sadar hills people has construed the failure as an “insult”.

The source further informed that the mediators pressed the government to give a concrete assurance on the government’s stand on declaration of districthood to Sadar Hills before things get out of hand, considering the sentiment of the Sadar hills people, who have earlier announced it as their last fight.

The mediator also asked the government to give districthood to the Sadar hills in the interest of the integrity of Manipur and to prevent the building of sense of alienation amongst the aggrieved people of Sadar hills, the source maintained. 

In his response, the Chief Minister expressed his desire to grant the demand of the SHDDC and disclosed that the government is seriously considering the matter.

Chief Minister, O. Ibobi, while citing repercussion expressed the need for the issue to be discussed in the cabinet meet but no concrete assurance was given to the mediators.

Further according to the mediators, at the same time, he also failed to point out any technical difficulties involved for the delay of the declaration of the districthood to Sadar Hills, the source maintained.

The source further asserted that the Chief Minister also appealed the aggrieved agitators to relax the agitation.

Prior to receiving the development of today’s talk, IPF contacted the secretary of SHDDC, Tonghen, who informed that there was no immediate contact with the mediators on the development of the talks.

However, he informed that the committee will meet the mediator tomorrow at Motbung where a deliberate discussion will be held on the development of the talks.

He further disclosed that in the meantime, the committee stand firm on their course of agitation and asserted the committee was not optimistic on the outcome of the talk.

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