By Sujit Chakraborty
NEW DELHI, January 19 (Vision Communications): The centre has issued a stern warning to Manipur based United Naga Council saying it will not tolerate any disturbance of national projects – Trans Asian Railway line and 400 KV power grid transmission line in the state.
Talking to the Vision Communications in an exclusive interview on Sunday, the joint secretary, Ministry of Home Affairs, Shambhu Singh also ruled out any immediate talks with the Naga outfit.
Reacting to the UNC threat of agitation, Shambhu Singh declared “Centre will come down heavily on the UNC and take recourse to various stringent provisions of law, if they dare to disrupt the ongoing construction work of the Trans Asian Railway line and 400 KV power grid transmission line in Manipur.”
The UNC has announced three pronged protest programmes — mass rally in all four Naga dominated hill districts of Manipur –Ukhrul, Senapati, Chandel and Tamenglong on January 23; boycotting Republic Day January 26, and ban on construction work of the Trans Asian railway line and 400 KV power grid transmission line from February 3.
The Naga outfit however exempted electricity, health and drinking water supply offices from the six day protest.
MHA joint secretary took serious objection to boycotting the Republic Day by the Naga outfit.
“This has serious implications. Either they don’t consider themselves to be Indian or they call our Republic Day function as Indian Republic Day programme. This statement has secessionist overtones and they should be very cautious before making any such statement,” Singh said.
The government is ready to face any eventuality. The 400 KV transmission line is being built for Naga people living in the hilly interiors and not for the people residing in the valley area.
“Now Naga people should judge whether the UNC is working for the interests of Naga people or against the interest of Nagas”, Singh observed.
Clarifying the delay in holding political level tripartite meeting with the UNC, Singh said “the process has already started.
Manipur government has to discuss with all the political parties and talk to all the MLAs before holding talks at the political level.”
“Everyone has to be taken into confidence before initiating next round of talks to be held at the political level as promised by us in the last round of talks held in New Delhi on August 30, last year. Meanwhile, Lok Sabha elections are approaching. Delhi Assembly elections were held and the Chief Minister has to come to Delhi to attend the AICC session. All these developments have further delayed the process.”
The MHA joint secretary continued, “I am really perplexed after seeing the press release issued by the UNC. I was waiting all this while. They did not bother to communicate with me before chalking out such a harsh agitational programme. And they mentioned that even if we invite them now for holding talks, the agitation programme will continue as per the schedule. Then, what is the point of inviting them now? Let them continue with their agitation. People of Manipur, particularly people living in the hill districts will suffer. UNC’s decision will lead the Nagas nowhere. And we are not to be blamed for the consequences. It is their unilateral stand.”
On the killing of innocent civilians in Assam’s Kokrajhar area, Singh asserted that “the state government has been asked to take all possible measures to flush out terrorists from within the state.”
Singh continued, “Since there was no designated camp for the NDFB (R) faction who had recently signed Suspension of Operation (SoO) agreement with the Government of Assam and the Centre, it was difficult for the security forces to identify the NDFB (Songbijit faction) cadres.”
The camp is now ready and all the NDFB-R cadres and commanders would take shelter in the designated camp within next few days’ time. Soon after the security forces would go all out to exterminate these criminals who have unleashed a reign of terror in the Bodoland area, Singh asserted.
Confirming the report of execution of anti-talk ULFA cadres and top leader Partho Baruah by its self-styled commander-in-chief Paresh Baruah for their move to surrender to the Assam government, joint secretary Singh said, “ULFA leader Paresh Baruah has become totally bereft of human values. His collaborators had recruited some youth saying that they would be given job in Bangalore, Hyderabad and some other big cities. But later they found themselves inside Myanmar training camp. Youth of Assam should look at the real face of Paresh Baruah and refrain from joining his outfit.”
Singh also revealed that the MHA has cleared the cabinet note sent by the Meghalaya government on the increase of existing 29 seats in the Garo Autonomous District Council to 40 seats to pave the way for signing the long-awaited peace accord with the ANVC outfit. ANVC underground signed Suspension of Operation agreement way back in 2004. Once the state cabinet approves the proposal, surrender package would be finalised and subsequently a final date for arms laying down ceremony would be announced by the state government, Singh added.