Naga talks on shaky ground, CMFG meet held
GUWAHATI, 16th Oct: As the 22 years old Naga peace talks between the Centre and NSCN(I-M) stands on shaky ground before arriving at a final settlement, all eyes are now on Friday's crucial meeting between interlocutor and Nagaland governor RN Ravi and various stakeholders, including church leaders, to prevent the peace process from collapsing.
Ravi had earlier announced that Prime Minister Narendra Modi desires the final solution to be inked within three months, ending this month.
But the final leg of the peace process plunged into a deep crisis after the Centre started a parallel discussion with six other Naga outfits, collectively known as Naga National Political Groups (NNPG), and even signed an interim agreement with them in 2017. In 2015, the Centre had signed a Framework Agreement with the NSCN-IM.
While the NSCN-IM wants integration of Naga-inhabited areas beyond the geographical boundaries of Nagaland, the rival NNPGs want a solution for the Nagas in Nagaland only. In addition, NSCN-IM is firm on a separate flag and a constitution for the Nagas unlike the NNPGs.
"Any layman on the street would be able to know if the WC (Working Committee) of NNPGs has done anything of hard negotiation with the Government of India representative and interlocutor RN Ravi other than being made to listen attentively the so-called "Economic Package" in the waiting in the name of Naga political solution.
Visibly, they have argued that it should be for the Nagas of Nagaland only...This is the manner of price they want to pay for the hundreds of thousands of Nagas who died in the name of Naga freedom. However, the true revolutionary patriots will continue to uphold the national trust and our glorious history. We will never walk down the path of capitulated peace," the NSCN-IM said.
Several Naga individuals have now come out openly giving their views in support of a separate flag and constitution for the Nagas.
The last two rounds of discussion between the Centre, represented by Ravi, and the NSCN-IM leadership led by Th Muivah on October 10 and 14 respectively, failed to break the deadlock over the demands of separate flag and constitution for the Nagas.
On Monday, the Cease Fire Monitoring Group (CFMG) and Cease Fire Supervisory Board directed three outfits, including the Khango Konyak-led National Socialist Council of Nagaland-K, to maintain "utmost restraint" to ensure that the ongoing peace process is not disrupted.
On the other-hand, an 11-member delegation of the NSCN-IM on Tuesday held a meeting with the CFMG Nagaland, chairman Lt Gen (Retd) Shokin Chauhan at the state VIP guest house in Kohima. The meeting that dwelt upon ceasefire monitoring and other ground rules is said to have ended on a ‘positive’ note, a News18 report stated.
“The meeting focused on the ground rules – basically, ceasefire violations that crop up between NSCN (I-M) and security forces. They were very positive. Except for minor ceasefire violations, they have kept peace,” said Chauhan, adding that the IM leadership assured they will try to “reduce ceasefire violations”.
The two sides also discussed the issue of taxation on trade and commerce in Nagaland, with NSCN (I-M) maintaining that ‘legitimate taxation’ would continue, the report stated.
“We had a very healthy discussion. Points were discussed and noted down by both sides. They mentioned about extortion, which is actually legitimate taxation by a legitimate government, and it is of a political nature,” said Karibo Chawang, member of the NSCN (I-M) Ceasefire Monitoring Cell.
The recruitment of cadres in NSCN (I-M) was another issue discussed at the meeting. The delegation reportedly said that cadres have “willingly” joined the outfit and there has been no forceful recruitment.
Among the security forces, IGAR (North) Maj Gen Pradeep C Nair, also attended the meeting.
(With inputs from Nagaland Post)