Alternative structure of governance in NE mooted

KOLKATA/NEW DELHI, DEC 23 (AGENCIES/IANS): (Article published on 12/24/2009 12:05:08 AM IST)

Union Home Minister P Chidambaram today said the Central government was ready to consider ‘alternative structure of governance‘ in the insurgency-hit North-Eastern states and the tribal dominated Maoist areas, but warned that any violence would be sternly dealt with.

“We are prepared to look at the governance structure. We can even create a new schedule which can meet the aspirations of these people so that they feel that they are the masters of their destiny,” Chidambaram said.

While speaking on “Security Environment: Imperatives for investments” in the valedictory session of CII’s Leadership Conference here, the Union Home Minister said the Indian Constitution was flexible enough to accommodate genuine demands for self governance by making necessary changes to the Constitution.

“The people in the Northeast have different history, different social structure. So have the tribals. If we can address the structure of governance, I think the problem will be solved,” he said.

He, however, made it clear that demand for sovereign states by insurgent outfits like ULFA in Assam and UNLF in Manipur would never be accepted, and any solution to the problems of the local people must be addressed within the Constitutional framework.

“We have sent unambiguous messages to them that the demand for sovereign states can never be accepted. If they give up violence we can talk anything,” Chidambaram said.

Stating that the problem of insurgency in the Northeast had been contained to a great extent, Chidambaram said many groups had already come forward to lay down arms and about half a dozen insurgent outfits were in talks with Government interlocutors. “I hope this will lead to settlement of the genuine grievances of the people of those areas,” he said.

Bifurcation of MHA

Union home minister P. Chidambaram Wednesday mooted the idea of bifurcating the ministry, considering its numerous functions, and said a division was inevitable.

“I am clear in my mind that because of the challenges which we have to face in five to 10 years, the home minister’s energies must be devoted to internal security and related matters,” he said while delivering the 22nd Intelligence Bureau Centenary Endowment lecture here.
Chidambaram said the structure of the ministry was such that it handled a wide portfolio of subjects ranging from “freedom fighters” to “forensic science”.

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