Manipur CM invites insurgents for talks

Imphal, April 18 (IANS) Manipur Chief Minister Okram Ibobi Singh on Monday invited all insurgent groups to the negotiation table to chalk out a peaceful solution.

“The government has been striving for a peaceful solution to the armed movement since it believes that all problems could be solved. A body without problems is like a dead person,” Okram Ibobi said at a function on “Art of Living and Meditation” held at the Bhagyachandra Open Air Theatre in Imphal.

Art of Living Foundation founder Sri Sri Ravi Shankar, who organised Monday’s event, said: “Happiness and prosperity are achieved through peaceful means.”

“Violence never helps people in this regard. We need to sit down, talk and try to find out solutions to the problems so that there is development, prosperity and happiness all around.”

During the Okram Ibobi government in Manipur, agreements on suspension of operations have been signed with over 20 insurgent groups.

Although the first such signing took place in May 2005, the union government is yet to bring these former insurgents to the negotiation table.

Okram Ibobi had lifted the Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act from seven assembly segments in the Imphal municipal areas on August 12, 2004 on experimental basis.

However, the government was disappointed when within three days, militants attacked devotees at the ISKCON temple in Imphal killing six people including a child and injuring many others.

The outfits which responded had nothing good to say about Okram Ibobi’s Monday offer. One group said it was only prepared to talk about independence.

Meanwhile, the Imphal West district administration relaxed the indefinite curfew from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. on Monday in Wangoi sub-division.

There was no untoward incident during the relaxation, and officials said it will be relaxed from 5 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily from Tuesday onwards.

The indefinite curfew was clamped on April 11 following clashes between two communities over the lynching of two youths accused of stealing a two-wheeler at Mayang Imphal Konchak.

Over 60 people were injured as guns were freely used. Officials said prohibitory orders banning assembly of people shall continue in the sub-division.

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