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Different groups must live together: PC

By Kalyan Barooah
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NEW DELHI, July 31 � While refusing to comment on the demand for review of the Bodo Accord, Union Home Minister, P Chidambaram on Tuesday said that the Centre was willing to have fresh look at the �arrangements�.

Stressing that the Bodos and non-Bodos must learn to live together, the Union Home Minister said that whatever arrangement that was arrived at after signing of the Bodo Accord has worked. �Both the community had agreed to live together,� he said.

The arrangements have worked but if there is a feeling that it needs to be re-looked then it may be considered but this is not the time, Chidambaram, who was presenting his last monthly report as the Home Minister said. He was later shifted to Finance Ministry.

�At the moment our task are three, relief, rehabilitation and providing security. All the sites have been already identified and forces have started moving and tents are being pitched. All these would be done in a few days,� he said.

Clarifying that the Central officials were not a fact finding team, he said a Special Secretary and Joint Secretary were sent to Assam to coordinate with Government of Assam to help in locating Central forces and containing the situation.

When the question of delay on part of the Central Government to deploy forces was put to Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi, he took the mike and said he had not made such a statement, Chidambaram said, replying to a question.

However, when asked about the delay in deployment of Army, he declined to comment. �I cannot comment on that. When the request was received by the Defence Ministry and when the Defence Ministry responded. Obviously I cannot comment without seeing the report,� he said.

The delay in deployment of Army in the strife affected areas has come as a major embarrassment for the Centre. The Prime Minister�s Office has sought a report. The delay has been attributed to misreading of the situation by the Army and confusion over Defence Ministry�s Standard Operating Procedure while operating in riot-like situation, which is seen as a law and order issue rather than internal security matter.

Asked whether illegal Bangladeshi migrants were involved in the riots in Kokrajhar and if the strife was pre-planned to deprive a section of people of citizenship and voting rights, Chidambaram said the assumptions were incorrect. The separate incidents of shootings triggered the violence. The conflict quickly spread to Kokrajhar and then to Chirang districts, he said.

The situation has been contained and there has been no violence in the last 96 hours and there was no fresh casualty, he said.

The Home Minister, who has returned from Assam this afternoon confirmed about the incident when an Army convoy was attacked and a jawan was killed. �But please remember that Assam is an affected zone and there are militant organisations in Assam while many are in talks' mode, not all are in talks mode. There is ULFA anti-talk, NDFB (anti-talk) and there are several smaller groups, which are not in talks mode.�

�Therefore, Assam is an affected zone and from time to time such incidences are bound to take place. Nevertheless, I have made the statement that level of violence has come down in the last three or four years and today also level of violence is much low. We cannot wish it away overnight. We are working hard to get everybody in talks mode. While bulk of the organisations come to talks mode, a splinter goes into anti-talk mode. It is a very complex situation in Assam,� he said.

�The understanding is that we first hold talks with NSCN (I-M) and reach a broad understanding and we will consider talking to other groups, provided the other groups must also be willing to talk, leader of one of which is based in Myanmar. We must have that in mind too,� he said.

About the threat by the MLAs of Nagaland to quit, pressing for early solution of the vexed Naga problem, the Home Minister said the 60 MLAs of Nagaland are coming to Delhi and expressed their desire to meet him. Some of them will call on the Prime Minister. I don�t think we should take two steps at a time, we should take one step at a time,� he said.

Earlier, Chidambaram said talks with the NSCN (IM) have reached a sensitive stage. There has been a favourable response to these talks from different Naga organisations and all sections of Naga society. All 60 members of the Nagaland Legislative Assembly have supported the talks.

Meanwhile, operations against the militant outfits in Arunachal Pradesh seems imminent with the Home Secretary and Special Secretary (IS) joining a high level meeting with DGMO regarding the security situation in the State and deployment of Security Forces along the State�s border with Nagaland and Myanmar.

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Different groups must live together: PC

NEW DELHI, July 31 � While refusing to comment on the demand for review of the Bodo Accord, Union Home Minister, P Chidambaram on Tuesday said that the Centre was willing to have fresh look at the �arrangements�.

Stressing that the Bodos and non-Bodos must learn to live together, the Union Home Minister said that whatever arrangement that was arrived at after signing of the Bodo Accord has worked. �Both the community had agreed to live together,� he said.

The arrangements have worked but if there is a feeling that it needs to be re-looked then it may be considered but this is not the time, Chidambaram, who was presenting his last monthly report as the Home Minister said. He was later shifted to Finance Ministry.

�At the moment our task are three, relief, rehabilitation and providing security. All the sites have been already identified and forces have started moving and tents are being pitched. All these would be done in a few days,� he said.

Clarifying that the Central officials were not a fact finding team, he said a Special Secretary and Joint Secretary were sent to Assam to coordinate with Government of Assam to help in locating Central forces and containing the situation.

When the question of delay on part of the Central Government to deploy forces was put to Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi, he took the mike and said he had not made such a statement, Chidambaram said, replying to a question.

However, when asked about the delay in deployment of Army, he declined to comment. �I cannot comment on that. When the request was received by the Defence Ministry and when the Defence Ministry responded. Obviously I cannot comment without seeing the report,� he said.

The delay in deployment of Army in the strife affected areas has come as a major embarrassment for the Centre. The Prime Minister�s Office has sought a report. The delay has been attributed to misreading of the situation by the Army and confusion over Defence Ministry�s Standard Operating Procedure while operating in riot-like situation, which is seen as a law and order issue rather than internal security matter.

Asked whether illegal Bangladeshi migrants were involved in the riots in Kokrajhar and if the strife was pre-planned to deprive a section of people of citizenship and voting rights, Chidambaram said the assumptions were incorrect. The separate incidents of shootings triggered the violence. The conflict quickly spread to Kokrajhar and then to Chirang districts, he said.

The situation has been contained and there has been no violence in the last 96 hours and there was no fresh casualty, he said.

The Home Minister, who has returned from Assam this afternoon confirmed about the incident when an Army convoy was attacked and a jawan was killed. �But please remember that Assam is an affected zone and there are militant organisations in Assam while many are in talks' mode, not all are in talks mode. There is ULFA anti-talk, NDFB (anti-talk) and there are several smaller groups, which are not in talks mode.�

�Therefore, Assam is an affected zone and from time to time such incidences are bound to take place. Nevertheless, I have made the statement that level of violence has come down in the last three or four years and today also level of violence is much low. We cannot wish it away overnight. We are working hard to get everybody in talks mode. While bulk of the organisations come to talks mode, a splinter goes into anti-talk mode. It is a very complex situation in Assam,� he said.

�The understanding is that we first hold talks with NSCN (I-M) and reach a broad understanding and we will consider talking to other groups, provided the other groups must also be willing to talk, leader of one of which is based in Myanmar. We must have that in mind too,� he said.

About the threat by the MLAs of Nagaland to quit, pressing for early solution of the vexed Naga problem, the Home Minister said the 60 MLAs of Nagaland are coming to Delhi and expressed their desire to meet him. Some of them will call on the Prime Minister. I don�t think we should take two steps at a time, we should take one step at a time,� he said.

Earlier, Chidambaram said talks with the NSCN (IM) have reached a sensitive stage. There has been a favourable response to these talks from different Naga organisations and all sections of Naga society. All 60 members of the Nagaland Legislative Assembly have supported the talks.

Meanwhile, operations against the militant outfits in Arunachal Pradesh seems imminent with the Home Secretary and Special Secretary (IS) joining a high level meeting with DGMO regarding the security situation in the State and deployment of Security Forces along the State�s border with Nagaland and Myanmar.

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