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No compromise on State�s territorial integrity: CM

By Kalyan Barooah
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NEW DELHI, March 24 - Following the raging controversy over NSCN(I-M) general secretary Th Muivah�s sensational declaration on territorial integration of all Naga-inhabited areas in the Northeast, Assam Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal today clarified that no discussion has taken place with the Centre regarding the demand of Nagalim.

Talking to this newspaper, the Chief Minister said that no such proposal has come from the Centre and the subject was not even discussed with the State Government, he said. �There is no question of compromising with the territorial integrity of Assam,� Sonowal said.

Hours later, former Assam Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi reacting to Muivah�s speech told newsmen that the State Government was silent on the issue. The Assam Government�s silence is a dangerous signal for the State, he said.

�When we were in power we had also demanded on a number of occasions that the Framework Agreement signed between the Centre and the NSCN(I-M) be made public. We had also brought this to the notice of Congress president Sonia Gandhi,� he said.

�The then Congress-ruled states, including Assam, Arunachal Pradesh and Manipur, were kept in the dark and even the Nagaland Government was not taken into confidence,� he said. �We had our doubts and we had suspected that the Centre had made serious compromises,� he added.

However, Gogoi pointed to the Prime Minister�s election speech in Manipur when he assured that territorial integrity of that state would be protected. The Naga problem needs solution but within the Constitutional framework, he said, adding that there should be no problem if the Nagas are given autonomy and more powers.

The former Chief Minister also attacked the AGP for its silence. During the AGP regime when the Vajpayee government was in power, the then Chief Minister Prafulla Kumar Mahanta had agreed to extension of the ceasefire with the I-M faction to cover Assam. But the Congress opposed it when it came to power,� he said. �The AGP should now clarify its stand,� he demanded.

�The BJP government at the Centre wants to solve the Naga problem at the cost of Assam�s territorial integrity,� he alleged. �Muivah has made some claims and the Centre should make clarifications. But so far there is no transparency,� Gogoi said.

Muivah created a sensation on Tuesday when he announced that the Framework Agreement signed with the Centre two years ago recognises the demand for territorial integration of all Naga-inhabited areas in the Northeast.

�NSCN had consultative meetings with the people on talks consecutively for eight times. The historic Framework Agreement recognises the unique history, identity, sovereignty and territories of the Nagas. It also recognises the legitimate right of the Nagas to integration of all Naga territories,� Muivah had said in his address to NSCN-IM men at Camp Hebron, on its �38th Republic Day�.

�The Framework Agreement will give the Nagas maximum sovereign power to grow into developed political people and it will also strengthen the security of India,� said the NSCN(I-M) general secretary.

�The agreement does not betray the principle. It is one of the strong foundations for an amicable solution for the Nagas at this given point of time, rejection of which will take the Nagas back far behind others. The Framework Agreement will safeguard the present and the future of the Nagas,� he was quoted as having said.

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No compromise on State�s territorial integrity: CM

NEW DELHI, March 24 - Following the raging controversy over NSCN(I-M) general secretary Th Muivah�s sensational declaration on territorial integration of all Naga-inhabited areas in the Northeast, Assam Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal today clarified that no discussion has taken place with the Centre regarding the demand of Nagalim.

Talking to this newspaper, the Chief Minister said that no such proposal has come from the Centre and the subject was not even discussed with the State Government, he said. �There is no question of compromising with the territorial integrity of Assam,� Sonowal said.

Hours later, former Assam Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi reacting to Muivah�s speech told newsmen that the State Government was silent on the issue. The Assam Government�s silence is a dangerous signal for the State, he said.

�When we were in power we had also demanded on a number of occasions that the Framework Agreement signed between the Centre and the NSCN(I-M) be made public. We had also brought this to the notice of Congress president Sonia Gandhi,� he said.

�The then Congress-ruled states, including Assam, Arunachal Pradesh and Manipur, were kept in the dark and even the Nagaland Government was not taken into confidence,� he said. �We had our doubts and we had suspected that the Centre had made serious compromises,� he added.

However, Gogoi pointed to the Prime Minister�s election speech in Manipur when he assured that territorial integrity of that state would be protected. The Naga problem needs solution but within the Constitutional framework, he said, adding that there should be no problem if the Nagas are given autonomy and more powers.

The former Chief Minister also attacked the AGP for its silence. During the AGP regime when the Vajpayee government was in power, the then Chief Minister Prafulla Kumar Mahanta had agreed to extension of the ceasefire with the I-M faction to cover Assam. But the Congress opposed it when it came to power,� he said. �The AGP should now clarify its stand,� he demanded.

�The BJP government at the Centre wants to solve the Naga problem at the cost of Assam�s territorial integrity,� he alleged. �Muivah has made some claims and the Centre should make clarifications. But so far there is no transparency,� Gogoi said.

Muivah created a sensation on Tuesday when he announced that the Framework Agreement signed with the Centre two years ago recognises the demand for territorial integration of all Naga-inhabited areas in the Northeast.

�NSCN had consultative meetings with the people on talks consecutively for eight times. The historic Framework Agreement recognises the unique history, identity, sovereignty and territories of the Nagas. It also recognises the legitimate right of the Nagas to integration of all Naga territories,� Muivah had said in his address to NSCN-IM men at Camp Hebron, on its �38th Republic Day�.

�The Framework Agreement will give the Nagas maximum sovereign power to grow into developed political people and it will also strengthen the security of India,� said the NSCN(I-M) general secretary.

�The agreement does not betray the principle. It is one of the strong foundations for an amicable solution for the Nagas at this given point of time, rejection of which will take the Nagas back far behind others. The Framework Agreement will safeguard the present and the future of the Nagas,� he was quoted as having said.