Peace deal on verge of being finalised, say Naga groups

The final peace talks had hit a rough weather in August after the NSCN-IM refused to hold further negotiations with Naga interlocutor and Nagaland Governor R.N. Ravi.

The two Naga groups — NNPG and NSCN-IM — released statements on Friday indicating that the Naga peace deal could be finalised soon.

The National Socialist Council of Nagaland (IM), one of the largest Naga groups that signed a framework agreement on August 3, 2015 with the Centre, said on Friday that a separate constitution being negotiated with the Centre will be properly drafted by experts, intellectuals and professionals “on the basis of the final political agreement made between India and the Nagas.” NSCN-IM has also demanded a separate flag and said that some of the constitutional competencies (entries in the Union, State and Concurrent list of the Constitution) are still “under hectic consideration.”

The final peace talks had hit a rough weather in August after the NSCN-IM refused to hold further negotiations with Naga interlocutor and Nagaland Governor R.N. Ravi.

Amid indications that the talks were going to fail, Union Home Minister Amit Shah directed Assam Minister Himanta Biswa Sharma and Nagaland Chief Minister Neiphiu Rio to meet NSCN-IM chief T.Muivah and the group is now negotiating with Intelligence Bureau (IB) officials.

In 2017, Mr. Ravi included more Naga groups in the dialogue process and signed a preamble with the seven Naga National Political Groups (NNPGs).

The NNPG said on Friday that its representatives met Mr. Ravi at a police camp in Dimapur on Thursday and were assured that the Centre was “determined to fulfil the political aspiration of the Naga people.”

An NNPG member said that this was the second meeting with Mr. Ravi since July.

“He [the interlocutor] said that the modalities of the agreement were ready and once everything is finalised it could be signed soon. We suggested that the final agreement be signed in September itself, but Mr. Ravi did not give any deadline,” the NNPG member said.

NSCN-IM has been negotiating for ‘Greater Nagaland’ or Nagalim. It wants to extend Nagaland’s borders by including Naga-dominated areas in neighbouring Assam, Manipur and Arunachal Pradesh to unite 1.2 million Nagas. The Centre has said there will be no disintegration of the States of Assam, Arunachal Pradesh and Manipur to merge the Naga inhabited areas with the existing State of Nagaland.

On August 11, the NSCN-IM released the contents of the framework agreement, stating that the Centre had agreed to share sovereign power and provide for an “enduring inclusive new relationship of peaceful co-existence of the two entities.”

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