NAGA peace talks: draft ready minus separate flag, Constitution

AMIDST demand for resumption of Naga talks at Prime Minister’s level in a third country, Government  has finalised the draft on  the agreement to be signed with militant groups and civil society organisations of Nagaland rejecting the demand for a separate flag and constitution as insisted on by the National Socialist Council of Nagalim .’’There would be no further dialogue with any group. The talk process is over and there may be some delay in signing the agreement because of the  Bihar elections. However, the Centre is keen on signing the agreement as soon as possible,” The Assam Tribune says citing informed sources. The agreement would be the first of its kind in the country as efforts were made to include all stakeholders in the process. The government had earlier signed several agreements with militant groups in different parts of the country. This time, in addition to the militants, the civil society groups including the Naga Gaonbura Federation and the Hohos of all the 14 tribes of Nagaland would sign the agreement to make it inclusive. The Naga National Political Groups (NNPG), an umbrella organisation of seven militant groups of Nagaland, and civil society groups have already approved the draft agreement. “The decisions taken in the meetings have been incorporated in the agreement, which includes the creation of two autonomous councils, one each on Manipur and Arunachal Pradesh.”

But the government has made it clear that it would not be possible to accept the demands for a separate flag and constitution. Leaders of the NSCN (I-M) who are in New Delhi had several rounds of talks with senior officers of the Intelligence Bureau  The IB officials also tried to persuade the leaders of the outfit to give up the demand for a separate flag and constitution. But the leaders maintained a rigid stand and the IB officials have stopped talking to them, says R Dutta Choudhury. The militants normally do not hand over all their weapons. The government will have to take administrative measures to recover weapons after signing of the accord, the sources added. The possibility of fresh elections in Nagaland after signing of the accord cannot be ruled out. After the signing of peace accords, the signatories are given an opportunity to join the political mainstream through the electoral process he NSCN (IM) has demanded direct involvement of Prime Minister Narendra Modi in the talks to resolve insurgency in the north-eastern state and insisted that the negotiations be held in a “third country”. In a letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modo, Thuingaleng Muivah, general secretary of the group and chief Naga negotiator said the framework agreement (FA) signed in 2015 and its proposal that the state should be allowed to have a Constitution and national flag. Muivah, who is the Ato Kilonser (prime minister) of the self-styled Naga government, referred to the circumstances in which he and the then chairman of the outfit Isak Chishi Swu had first arrived in India in 2002 and “patiently” stayed since 2010 to conclude an “acceptable and honourable political settlement. The NSCN(IM) started political negotiation with the government only after it recognised the Naga problem as a “political issue” and stopped calling it India’s internal law and order issue, he added. Edited by Pk Chakravarty

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