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Manipur govt in talks with Imphal Valley-based insurgent group, peace accord to be signed soon: CM

Manipur govt in talks with Imphal Valley-based insurgent group, peace accord to be signed soon: CM

Manipur CM N Biren Singh | File image

Imphal, Nov 26: Manipur Chief Minister N Biren Singh on Sunday said his government was holding talks with an Imphal Valley-based insurgent group, and a peace accord will be signed soon.

Speaking to PTI-Video, Singh said the talks were at an advanced stage, even though he stayed away from naming the underground organisation.

"We are advancing, and we are expecting to sign a peace accord with one big UG (underground organisation) very shortly," the chief minister said.

This was for the first time that there was an official confirmation about such talks were being held by the government since ethnic violence broke out in the state on May 3.

Earlier, sources had said that the government was holding talks with a faction of the proscribed United National Liberation Front (UNLF).

More than 180 people have been killed since the violence broke out in May after a 'Tribal Solidarity March' was organised in the hill districts to protest against the Meitei community's demand for Scheduled Tribe (ST) status.

The Meiteis account for about 53 percent of Manipur's population and live mostly in the Imphal Valley, while tribals, which include Nagas and Kukis, constitute 40 percent and reside mainly in the hill districts.

Asked about newspapers going off the stands in Imphal and local TV channels going off the air, Singh said he came to know about it only on Saturday.

He said he has already sought a report from the CID on the issue.

Newspapers and local TV channels have shut down operations in the Imphal Valley since Friday, protesting against "interference" from a militant group, leading to an information blackout.

On Myanmarese people crossing over to Manipur for shelter, Singh said that although India is not a party to the UN Refugee Convention, some people are being given refuge in the state on humanitarian grounds.

"However, they will be deported once the situation is stable in Myanmar," he said.

Till July, around 2,500 Myanmarese people had crossed over to Manipur and were living in different parts of the state. The number has been on the rise after fresh violence in the neighbouring country.

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