Ulfa talks: PM rules out sovereignty
PRIME MINISTER Manmohan Singh left the ruling Congress red-faced on Saturday by ruling out any discussion on sovereignty of the state. He also reminded the NSCN (Isak-Muivah) that the territorial integrity of the northeastern states could not be compromised.india Updated: Apr 02, 2006 14:51 IST
PRIME MINISTER Manmohan Singh left the ruling Congress red-faced on Saturday by ruling out any discussion on sovereignty of the state. He also reminded the NSCN (Isak-Muivah) that the territorial integrity of the northeastern states could not be compromised.
The Congress had been trumpeting the "breakthrough" in the peace process with the ULFA in the run-up to the Assembly elections slated for April 3 and 10. The ULFA, which is rigid about discussing sovereignty, had also issued statements obliquely exhorting people to vote for the Congress.
The NSCN-IM, on the other hand, wants the Naga peace process to centre round the issue of integration of all Naga-inhabited areas towards creating Greater Nagalim. Assam, Arunachal Pradesh and Manipur bordering Nagaland, are vehemently against this.
“They (ULFA) can raise the issue (sovereignty of Assam) but that does not mean we will discuss it. Talks can be held only within the framework of the Constitution,” Singh told reporters before leaving for a series of election rallies. On the NSCN-IM demand, he added: "The question of compromising territorial integrity without the consent of the states concerned does not arise."
On the touchy issue of influx, the PM said the Congress was committed to checking infiltration but was also duty-bound to ensure security for the minorities.
Singh also ruled out mid-term elections in the country and expressed confidence that the UPA government would complete its full term. "Our government is very much on the right track," he said. On the fate of controversial Election Commissioner N Chawla, he said he would apply his mind after returning to New Delhi.
The PM's visit, incidentally, followed the gunning down of Lal Deka, commandant of the ULFA's 109th Battalion in Goalpara district Friday evening.
Later addressing an election rally at the at the Nalbari College field, Singh assured the minorities in the state that they had nothing to fear after the repeal of the IMDT Act.
"The IMDT Act may have been repealed but the minorities should not be afraid because we are committed to ensuring that no genuine Indian citizens are harassed,” he said.