TODAY -

'Swu's death not to affect talks'
Source: The Sangai Express / TNN

New Delhi, June 29 2016: The passing away of NSCN(IM) chairman Isak Chisi Swu is unlikely to impact the outfit's ongoing negotia-tions with the Centre for a permanent settlement to the Naga issue, according to a senior government func-tionary.

The functionary said on Tuesday that while Swu was indeed chairman of the Naga outfit, it is general secretary T Muivah who was effectively running the show and leading negotiations on the framework agreement signed earlier with Centre's interlocutor for Naga talks RN Ravi.

Swu, who was admitted to a hospital here for past several months and had been put on ventilator support, died around Tuesday noon, supposedly due to multi-organ failure.

He was suffering from multiple health issues, including kidney ailment and tuberculosis.

"Centre's interlocutor Ravi and Muivah have been engaged in several rounds of talks since August last year, when the 'historic' framework agreement was signed by them in the presence of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Home Minister Rajnath Singh and national security adviser Ajit Doval.

The accord laid down the broad contours within which the Naga settlement would be worked out.

Ever since, sufficient progress has been made to work out terms of a permanent settlement," said a senior home ministry officer.

Muivah too, while describing Swu's demise as "a shock…we can't avoid", was quick to add that there was progress on the talks front and that he was hopeful of an early solution.

However, even as government leaders and Muivah ruled out any impact of Swu's demise on the ongoing talks, top officials of the security establishment said the reaction of the Sema tribe, to which Swu belonged, as well as other Naga rebel outfits like Naga National Council (NNC) and NSCN(Khole-Kitovi) would have to be watched.

While Swu is leader of the Sema tribe that hails from Nagaland, Muivah is a Tangkhul Naga from Ukhrul district of Manipur.

Sources said this also the reason why Swu remained chairman of NSCN(IM), while Muivah, despite being more active of the two, was general secretary.

"Any settlement between Muivah, who has the support of Naga Ho Ho (a council of tribal chiefs) and other Naga groups, and the Centre without taking on board parallel outfits like NNC and NSCN(KK) may lead to a backlash, as the latter have a good strength of nearly 2,000-2,500 cadres," said a former home ministry officer.

"The solution therfore lies in protracted and exhaustive negotiations with all possible Naga factions, to make the final agreement more broad-based," the officer added.


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