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Manipur’s Nagas hold rallies to press for successful conclusion of peace talks with Centre

Manipur railly
Photo courtesy: ABP Live

IMPHAL, AUGUST 9: Thousands of Nagas of Manipur on Wednesday took out rallies in areas inhabited by them to press for the successful conclusion of peace talks between the Centre and Naga groups based on the Framework Agreement.
The protesters also demanded that separate administration for any other community must not infringe upon Naga-inhabited areas.
Rallies were brought out in the district headquarters of Tamenglong, Senapati, Ukhrul and Chandel amid tight security.
The United Naga Council (UNC), the apex civic body of Naga tribes in Manipur, called for the rallies in the Naga-inhabited areas.
In Tamenglong, the home of Zeliangrong Naga tribe, a rally started at Jadonang Park and proceeded through more than 3-km-long stretch and will end at Apollo Ground.
“We will submit a memorandum addressed to Prime Minister Narendra Modi through the Deputy Commissioner”, Anthony Gangmei, one of the participants, told PTI.
In Ukhrul, the home of Tangkhul Naga tribe, a rally began at Mission Ground and proceeded for more than 3 km before converging at Mini Secretariat.
The rallyists held placards demanding conclusion of the peace talks and that Naga areas must not be disintegrated.
Thousands of people also participated in rallies in Senapati and Chandel districts.
The hill areas of Manipur constitute 90% of the geographical area of the State and are inhabited by two Naga and Kuki-Zo tribes.
The UNC, in a statement, earlier said that the peace process made significant progress with the signing of the historic Framework Agreement between the Centre and the NSCN (IM) on August 3, 2015.
“The inordinate delay in signing the final agreement is a cause of concern and has the potential to derail the peace negotiation”, it said.
Kuki Inpi Manipur (KIM), the apex body of the Kuki tribes, has extended support to the rallies in the Naga-inhabited areas.
“At a critical time wherein the tribal Kukis of Manipur are being subjected to bear the brunt of ethnic cleansing being unleashed by the majority Meiteis, aided and abetted covertly by the State machinery, the Kuki Inpi Manipur fully endorses the proposed mass rallies being organised by the United Naga Council”, a statement by the KIM said.
Naga Hoho, a powerful civic body of the Naga tribes, has asked the 10 Naga MLAs in Manipur not to attend the proposed assembly session from August 21, claiming that the Manipur Government has been working against peace talks with Naga groups.
Most of the Kuki MLAs irrespective of their party affiliations are unlikely to attend the Manipur Assembly session in view of the continued ethnic violence, according to leaders from the community.
There are 10 Kuki-Zomi MLAs, including 7 from the BJP, 2 from the Kuki People’s Alliance and 1 Independent, in the Manipur House which has a strength of 60 members.
Ethnic violence broke out between Meiteis and Kuki-Zomi communities in May after protests over a court judgment which seemed to favour the majority Meiteis who live in the Imphal valley and who have been demanding Scheduled Tribe status, currently enjoyed by Kuki-Zomi and Naga tribals in the state.
More than 160 people have been killed and thousands have been rendered homeless in the ongoing violence.