Key meeting held: Muivah to share report on peace talks on May 31

An important four-hour long meeting was held between Nagaland Core Committee of state legislators and an NSCN-IM delegation.

At the meeting on Saturday near Dimapur, V.S. Atem led the NSCN-IM delegation, while the Core Committee was headed by Chief Minister Neiphiu Rio.

“It was a lengthy and fruitful meeting,” said Nagaland Planning Minister Neiba Kronu.

Former Chief Minister T.R. Zeliang said the potent Naga underground group has been specifically urged not to derail the peace process or walk away from the talks process.

“Only through talks this settlement can come,” he said.

Meanwhile, informed sources said that at the May 31 ’emergency meeting of Naga national assembly’, NSCN-IM General Secretary Thuingaleng Muivah will deliver a “political talk”.

His address would be like a “report on the Indo-Naga political talks”, the sources added.

Muivah, the most powerful NSCN-IM leader, had skipped Saturday’s meeting.

During the recent visit of an NSCN-IM delegation to New Delhi for parleys with peace emissary A.K. Mishra, the aging Muivah was not present.

The sources said that after Muivah’s address on May 31 at the NSCN-IM’s camp headquarters, there will be a general discussion on the ‘Indo Naga Political talks’ and the declaration of vow.

All key leaders are expected to attend the May 31 meeting and Centre also expects “more clarity” will come on contentious issues such as a Flag and a separate Naga Constitution.

A 10-member NSCN (IM) delegation led by Atem camped in Delhi recently and held at least two rounds of important parleys with the Mishra.

The Central government has rejected demands for a separate Flag and Constitution.

Close scrutiny Saturday’s meeting suggests there were still ‘hopes’ about Naga peace talks and an early solution.

“Extortion is a menace, everyone agrees. There should be an early Solution everyone agrees. So it’s all positive and no bitterness and harshness,” a source told IANS.

“Saturday’s deliberations were positive and even the militant group (NSCN-IM) did not contest the general sentiment of Naga legislators including from BJP that there should be an early solution.”

NNPG, the umbrella body of seven Naga militant groups led by N. Kitovi Zhimomi, has been also strongly in favour of early signing of a peace pact to resolve the state’s decades-old insurgency and political problem.

The Naga peace talks have been put on a fast track during the last one month as the Assembly elections in the state are due by February-March 2023.

The complexities in the talks have also forced to explore other avenues. One suggestion has been the voluntary resignation of the incumbent NDPP-BJP ministry and imposition of a President’s Rule.

The state at present does not have an exclusive Governor as Assam Governor Jagdish Mukhi is holding additional charge.

The Central government agencies had last week expressed concern over extortion and money collecting venues at various places in the state and the same sentiment was also reportedly shared by Governor Mukhi.

The Nagaland Home Department has subsequently ordered abolition of many such counters.

There are other issues as well and some influential bodies have strongly pressed for an early solution.

In a statement, the influential Ao Students’ Conference said: “For decades, Naga citizens have quietly endured extortion of national workers, but we have been denied the Naga solution. For how long will the Naga citizens be kept in the dark?”

In February, the Naga Tribal Council in a letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi had said that “the only task left at the moment is for the government of India to take a call for signing the agreement”.

Last month, the NNPG had also month demanded that the Neiphiu Rio government must step aside and facilitate an early solution.

(Nirendra Dev is a New Delhi-based journalist. He is also author of books, “The Talking Guns: North East India” and “Modi to Moditva: An Uncensored Truth”. Views are personal)




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