Imphal: Manipur Chief Minister N Biren Singh 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 being held by the government, since ethnic violence broke out in the state 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 per cent of Manipur’s population and live mostly in the Imphal Valley, while tribals, which include Nagas and Kukis, constitute 40 per cent and reside mainly in the hill districts.
Asked about newspapers going off the stands in Imphal and local TV channels off the air, Singh said he came to know about it only Saturday.
He said he has already sought a report from the CID on the issue.
Newspapers and local TV channels have shut 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 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.