Talks on Sadar Hills bear no fruit, SHDDC to continue with blockade

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People of Sadar Hills blocking NH-39 demanding full-fledged Sadar Hills district on Wednesday.
People of Sadar Hills blocking NH-39 demanding full-fledged Sadar Hills district on Wednesday.

IMPHAL Aug 24: Talks between the state government and Sadar Hills Districthood Demand Committee for the third time failed to arrive at an understanding today and the impasse will go on further.

Chief Minister Okram Ibobi met 10 representatives of the demand committee at his official bungalow today morning.

Sources said that among the representatives included three MLAs and the rest comprised of SHDDC representatives. It further said that the Chief Minister negotiated by asking for three months time to settle the issue as a cabinet sitting yesterday had decided to constitute a Committee on Reorganization of Administration and Police District boundary. The CM had said that after chalking out the policies within the purview of the committee by streamlining district boundaries, the demand of the SHDDC could be considered. The SHDDC representatives did not reciprocate the CM’s appeal and demanded that there would be no altered negotiation in the issue and the stance for districthood status is the only resolve.

In this regard a press release by president of SHDDC Ngamkhohao Haokip said that, Government of India had given appropriate directives to the Chief Minister of Manipur for inauguration of Sadar Hills as a full-fledged district of Manipur as mandated by the provision of Manipur (Hills Areas) Autonomous District Council Act, 1971.

In utter violation of the rights of the people, O. Ibobi Singh has once again orchestrated delaying tactics.  The four decades old demand for a districthood need not be delayed further on petty issues, which the chief minister along with his associates have intentionally brought forward to undo the peace and harmony of the state.

Our demand is nothing more or less than full-fledged districthood status. We do not invite anything more than this. Devising extraordinary situations which are clandestinely invented and making a scapegoat out of the SHDDC by the state government is not a positive step. The state government should bear responsibility for any extraordinary situations arising in future, it said.

Meanwhile an unofficial team comprising of senior media persons led by N Rajendro, president of Information Centre for Hill Areas ,Manipur met the SHDDC president at Kangpokpi today afternoon.

Along the NH 39 route, the team met agitating members of the demand committee at Gamgiphai and held a short meeting and took opinions of agitators at other similar protest strongholds located at Saparmaina,Bongmol and Keithelmanbi.

Ngamkhohao Haokip while interacting with the media persons voiced that the demand committee will not settle for anything less than tendering of districthood status.

“We want a full fledged district, but whenever the Sadar Hills demand come to the forefront, the state government comes out with issues of reorganization and demarcation, the boundary issues can come later, but first we want districthood and we know it is a justified demand”.

He further added that there are no communal lines drawn by the demand. “We have Meitei, Kukis,Nepalis,Nagas coexisting congenially within the Sadar Hills area. If any community wants to spearhead our endeavor, we welcome it and I will resign voluntarily, but it is fact that the Kukis have the majority and hence we are at the forefront”.

Meanwhile, another 14 individuals have resolved to carry on with the hunger strike protest as the seven women protesting earlier have been admitted to Kangpokpi CHC due to deteriorating health conditions.

It was observed by IFP that due to complete breakdown of public transportation along the Kanglatombi to Kangpokpi stretch, residents along the highway have to hike on foot braving the elements to meet their requirements.

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