New Delhi, Sep 5 (IANS) The NSCN (Reformation) has become the first breakaway group of the National Socialist Council of Nagalim (NSCN) to support the Naga Peace Accord, inked in June to bring peace and development in the northeast region. It also urged R.N Ravi, the central government’s interlocutor for the Naga peace talks, to hammer out a solution acceptable to all stakeholders.
After meeting Ravi in the national capital, leaders of NSCN (Reformation) said that though they have supported the Naga Peace Accord, they had also put forth some conditions such as the talks to be transparent and inclusive of ideas from the stakeholders.
“We met R.N. Ravi and it was a very positive meeting. Being such a senior and knowledgeable bureaucrat, he is the perfect person to handle the Naga issue,” NSCN (Reformation) president Wangtin Naga told IANS.
Terming Prime Minister Narendra Modi an iron man, Wangtin said that New Delhi had now understood the unique history and the political situation of the Nagas and that there was a collective effort to find a solution to an imbroglio that has festered for over half a century.
“The Naga people also must respond to the situation responsibly. The Naga people must take this opportunity in their best interest and this can be possible only if we stand down from our personal agendas and look at the collective responsibility,” he said.
Apart from Wangtin Naga, the delegation comprised NSCN (Reformation) general secretary P. Tikhak and senior leaders Imlongnukshi Chang, Wangpai Konyak and Abuan Zeliang.
On June 3, the NSCN-IM (Isak-Muivah) and the central government signed the Naga Peace Accord, concluding almost 20 years of peace negotiations that started in 1997 after the group signed a ceasefire agreement.
One of the major reasons behind the delay in reaching a conclusion was the demand for a Greater Nagaland by the Naga extremist groups.
Nagaland has several extremist groups including the NSCN-IM, NSCN-Khaplang, NSCN-Unification, NSCN-Reformation and NSCN-Khole-Kitovi – apart from the oldest of them all, the Naga National Council (NNC).
Elaborating on the meeting, the leaders said Ravi assured them that the accord should not be seen as peace pact with only the NSCN (Isak-Muivah) but with the entire Naga community even though it was signed with NSCN (Isak-Muivah).
“NSCN (Isak-Muivah) have been leading the talks since 18 years and have contributed toward resolving the Nagas’ problem, which no one is denying but, Ravi has assured us that all stakeholders will be taken on board (before reaching a final agreement),” Tikhak told IANS after the delegation met the Naga peace interlocutor at his office.
It has also been learnt that during the nearly two-hour-long meeting with Ravi, discussions were also held on the role of the NSCN (Reformation) in the peace process.
The NSCN (Reformation) came into being in April after two of its founders – Wangtin Naga and P. Tikhak – were expelled from the NSCN (Khaplang), reportedly due to misunderstandings that arose over its recent abrogation of the ceasefire with the central government.
The abrogation was followed by a series of attacks on the Indian Army, the biggest being an ambush in which 20 soldiers of the Dogra Regiment were killed in Manipur’s Chandel district.
During the meeting with Ravi, the NSCN (Reformation) leaders maintained that it was important for the central government to respect their contribution. They argued that if the talks failed, they were ready to carry out the struggle for another couple of decades to achieve their target.
“We are capable of carrying out the struggle for another 40-50 years. The government should know that we have humbled down because we want a solution for the Naga issue,” Wangtin said.
(Rupesh Dutta can be contacted at Rupesh.firstname.lastname@example.org)