Rebel Naga group Nationalist Socialist Council of Nagalim-Isak Muivah (NSCN-IM) on Wednesday held a meeting with a government representative in an effort to hold peace talks with the Centre to find a permanent solution to the decades-old Naga issue. Officials gave this information. He said the NSCN-IM delegation led by senior leader V S Atem met interlocutor AK Mishra at an undisclosed location in the national capital.
The delegation discussed the main demands of the rebel group, including a separate flag for the Nagas. An official with knowledge of the talks said talks remained inconclusive and are likely to resume on Thursday. The NSCN-IM delegation also requested the interlocutor to arrange a meeting with Prime Minister Narendra Modi. The group’s top leader Thuingaleng Muivah did not attend this round of the meeting.
On Tuesday, a day before resuming talks with the government, the NSCN-IM said it stood by its demand for integration of Naga-dominated areas and a separate flag and there could be no compromise on these.
The NSCN-IM, in an editorial in its mouthpiece ‘Nagalim Voice’, said it is an irony that Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who likes to publicize his achievements, is expected to take his Naga issue to its logical conclusion while India-Naga talks The impasse over the Framework Agreement (FA) continues.
The editorial said that seven years ago, when Prime Minister Modi organized the FA signing ceremony at his residence on August 3, 2015, his speech had raised a hope. The Prime Minister proudly announced that he had solved the problem of long-standing insurgency in Southeast Asia. In addition, the event was telecast live all over the world, so that his achievement in resolving the Naga issue could be shared among all.
The editorial said that PM Modi cannot back down from the Naga issue, but he will have to look at the framework of the agreement once again from political understanding. It was further said in the editorial that he has taken the credit for bringing FA….Now take further action to resolve the Naga issue.
The central government has been in separate talks with the NSCN (IM) since 1997 and the Naga National Political Groups (NNPG), a seven-member organization, since 2017. It has turned down the NSCN-IM’s demand for a separate Naga flag and constitution, while the group has stuck to it. The Center had signed the Framework Agreement with NSCN(IM) on August 3, 2015 and also with NNPG in December 2017.
Nagaland’s neighboring states – Manipur, Assam and Arunachal Pradesh – have strongly opposed the idea of integration of the inhabited Naga regions under their jurisdiction. The Framework Agreement comes after more than 80 rounds of talks in 18 years. The first breakthrough came in 1997 when a ceasefire agreement was completely scrapped after decades of insurgency in Nagaland, which began soon after India’s independence in 1947.
Though talks with the NSCN-IM were not being held as the group was pushing for a separate Naga flag and constitution, the central government rejected the demand. Now the government is also holding peace talks with different groups of NSCN under a separate ceasefire agreement. The groups that have entered into ceasefire agreements are NSCN-NK, NSCN-R, NSCN K-Khango and NSCN(K) Nikki.