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No more talks with Naga Council if blockade continues: Govt

No more talks with Naga Council if blockade continues: Govt

New Delhi: The Centre is unlikely to hold fresh round of talks with a Naga group spearheading the economic blockade in poll-bound Manipur for over three months now, after no breakthrough was achieved in two rounds of meetings with the stakeholders to resolve the crises.

The National Highway number 2 (NH 2) is blocked there since November 1 by United Naga Council (UNC) cadres which has affected normal life.

Though the dates for polls have already been announced by the Election Commission, Union Home Ministry sources today said that it may be difficult for poll officials to reach on duty in the present scenario.

Referring to the security scenario in the northeastern state, they said law and order is a state subject and the Centre cannot interfere.

Asked whether it would be conducive to conduct elections in Manipur considering the prevailing situation there, the sources said “final call” on it needs to be taken by the EC.

About 176 companies (about 17,600 personnel) of central paramilitary forces are already there, and more number of such policemen can also be provided, they said.

The Home Ministry may send 200 more companies (about 20,000 personnel) of the central paramilitary forces there, the sources said.

Polling for the 60-member Manipur Assembly is scheduled to be held in two phases next month– March 4 and 8.

The Union Home Ministry had conducted two meetings — on February 3 and 7 — with representatives of UNC and Manipur government to end the crises there.

In the first round of discussions held in the national capital, the Centre had expressed hope that the blockade would end soon. However, the last round of talks failed.

Though the next round of talks are scheduled to be held on March 25, it is unlikely that it would happen, they said.

The Council is protesting against creation of seven new districts in the state and its cadres have blocked the NH 2.

Due to the blockade, normal life in Manipur has been badly affected and prices of essential commodities have sky rocketed.

PTI