Manipur team in Delhi for talks

Imphal, Jan. 16: A joint political delegation left Imphal this afternoon for New Delhi to remind the Centre of the Manipur government's stand on the state's boundary and to seek help in arresting NSCN (I-M) cadre R.P. Livingstone in the actress molestation case.

The delegation comprises leaders of 14 political parties, including the ruling Congress and Opposition parties like BJP, CPI, Trinamool Congress and NCP. However, the Naga Peoples Front, which attended the meeting on December 25 which decided to send the delegation, is not a part of the team.

Chief minister Okram Ibobi Singh, who will lead the delegation during the meeting with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Union home minister Sushil Kumar Shinde, is already camping in New Delhi. Deputy chief minister Gaikhangam left Imphal today along with other members of the team. Before leaving, Gaikhangam told reporters here today that though the delegation will seek the Centre's help in arresting Livingstone, they are also likely to remind the Centre of the Manipur government's stand on safeguarding its territorial boundary. Talks between the Centre and the NSCN (I-M) are in the final stages and they include a demand for contiguous Naga-inhabited areas.

Though Shinde had consulted Ibobi Singh thrice on the Centre's proposal to settle the Naga imbroglio, Ibobi has been maintaining that the home minister did not disclose the details of the proposal.

"We will reaffirm our government's stand on the question of Manipur's boundary. We have full confidence in the Centre that it would not do anything to harm our interest," Gaikahangam said.

The delegation would also seek help in arresting Livingstone, who molested actress Momoco during a concert in Chandel district on December 18. The state government believes that Livingstone fled from Manipur and is now taking shelter in the outfit's Camp Hebron near Dimapur in Nagaland to evade arrest.

"The delegation will press for help in taking the cadre into custody. We are hoping the Centre would respond positively to the demand," Gaikhangam said.

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