Centre rejects separate flag, constitution demand

GUWAHATI, 13th Sep: The Union home ministry has rejected the demand of a separate flag and constitution for Nagaland and has decided to conclude the ongoing peace talks with the Naga rebel groups by the end of this year.
Saying that the Naga rebel groups have been insistent on their demand, sources told this newspaper that Nagaland’s powerful civil society body had asked the armed rebel groups to sign the peace deal even if the Centre does not agree to a separate constitution.
Noting that the Naga civil society was firm in its opinion that a peace agreement between the Naga rebels and the Centre should be signed at the earliest, sources said they are of the view that the Naga people may continue to fight democratically for these issues, which could not be accommodated in the ongoing peace talks.
Refusing to comment on the frequent statements by the NSCN (I-M) in the media against the peace talks, the sources said that the posturing of the outfit before the media had various internal dynamics.
“So far as the demand of a separate flag and constitution for Nagaland is concerned, the stand of the Government of India has also been clarified by Nagaland governor RN Ravi at a congregation of civil society groups on August 16,” a source said, adding: “The congregation, which was attended by members and representatives of all civil society groups of Nagaland, was called to felicitate Mr Ravi. In his address to the large gathering of civil society groups and their members, Mr Ravi had noted that the Government of India had not agreed to the demand for a separate flag and constitution.”
Indicating that the demand for a separate flag and constitution would not delay the peace process, the sources said all the Naga armed rebel groups engaged in the peace talks have also agreed to lay down arms.
On Wednesday, NSCN demanded to be treated as the sole arbiter in the process and iterated that “merger of Nagas with the Union of India” could never be the objective.
It had insisted that Nagas will not merge into the Union of India, but will co-exist with the Union of India as two entities.
Nagas do not accept Indian constitution, but Nagas and Indians will share sovereign powers based on competencies, it maintained.

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