The Nagaland government has convened a “consultative meeting” with all mass-based organisations, extremist groups and NGOs on October 15 to discuss the Naga peace process.
The move follows a deadlock in the negotiations between the Centre and the Isak-Muivah faction of the National Socialist Council of Nagaland, or NSCN (IM), which prefers to be called National Socialist Council of Nagalim.
“All tribal hohos (tribe-based apex traditional bodies), mass-based organisations, civil societies, church organisations, political parties, NGOs, prominent persons, etc., are being invited to discuss the most important issue that our society is presently faced with,” an official statement said.
The NSCN (IM) had declared a ceasefire in 1997 followed by other extremist groups since 2001. But a solution has eluded the ‘Naga political issue’ despite several rounds of talks over more than two decades.
The Nagaland government headed by Neiphiu Rio is believed to have sensed the growing impatience to address the issue by involving all sections of the Naga society. The meeting is expected to provide a common platform to various organisations and outfits for expressing their views on multiple issues and reach a consensus.
The Centre has been holding peace talks separately with the NSCN (IM) and the Naga National Political Groups (NNPGs), a conglomerate of seven other outfits. The Centre is believed to have reached an agreement on all outstanding issues with the NNPGs while the demands of a Naga flag and Naga constitution have clouded the talks with the NSCN (IM).
The road to a “honourable solution” to the Naga political problem has been bumpy because it involves the aspirations of the Nagas from Assam, Manipur and Arunachal Pradesh besides Nagaland. Manipur and Arunachal Pradesh are particularly worried about losing territory if the Naga peace accord is signed.
The fear stems from the NSCN (IM)’s vision for Greater Nagalim, an administrative set-up comprising all Naga-inhabited areas in the northeast as well as adjoining Myanmar.