All eyes are on NSCN(IM)-GoI meet, demand raised for Prez Rule in Nagaland
Source: Nirendra Dev *

New Delhi, September 18 2022: The NSCN-IM, which had earlier raised the issues of Flag and Constitution and in the process stalled Naga peace talks, is now keen for negotiations with the centre "based on clauses and promises made in the Framework Agreement of Aug 3, 2015" .

A seven-member NSCN-IM delegation is likely to meet central leaders and representatives in Delhi this week.

The development follows after a key meeting between NSCN-IM leaders and the state Chief Minister Rio and his colleagues including Y Patton, deputy CM and floor leader of BJP, held in Dimapur on Sept 17 .

The said meeting came within days of the September 12th meeting between the Core Committee and Union Home Minister Amit Shah in Delhi.

The Rio-led regime was directed to convince NSCN-IM to ink the peace pact.

The Centre has categorically made it clear that the onus was on the NSCN-IM to end the stalemate and ensure an early inking of a peace pact.

The Nagaland Core Committee initially proposed to meet the militant leaders after Sept 22 when the assembly session would end.

However, in between due to certain developments the meeting between NSCN-IM and the Core Committee was advanced and held on Saturday, Sept 17 .

In between of course , BJP national president J P Nadda also visited Nagaland.

But there was no direct connection between his visit and the developments related to Naga peace talks, sources insist.

The delegation of state MLAs and and ministers - that includes leaders from NDPP, NPF and BJP, shared with the ultra leaders on what transpired at the meeting between the state delegation and Union Home Minister Shah on Sept 12 .

At the Sept 12 meeting, Shah and officials of the centre told the Naga delegation that they were approaching the "wrong man" when chief minister Rio and others were trying to impress upon the government of India on the need to "expedite" the peace process.

The reference was made to the recent data revealed by the National Crime Bureau which said that the state of Nagaland tops the list of states for extortion and related offences.

"People are fed up with extortion in the name of the peace process for the last so many years," was a refrain of several Naga leaders.

With regard to the Flag and a separate Naga constitution, Shah was categorical - "...Woh baat nahi karna (Please do not raise these two issues)" .

The Home Minister, however, told the visiting delegation, "You ask for anything else, we are there with you" .

According to sources some of these 'crystal clear assertions' from the centre at the Sept 12 meeting had left the Nagaland delegation dumbfounded at times.

One member among the 11-member panel led by Chief Minister Rio had told the central leaders and officials on Monday (Sept 12) - "Next time, when we go, we will request them" .

This was strongly countered by the centre and reportedly came the snub - "What request !" .

Observers say the message from New Delhiin other words being - better get the work done.

At the meeting, the Core Committee of legislators and ministers were told that the 'delay' in inking a final peace pact was not due to the centre but because of NSCN-IMdemands for Flag and Constitution.

The centre is very serious about an early solution, sources maintained adding, this is the case not only because it was BJP's election promise of 2018, it is also because the Nagas of Nagaland and the civil society messages to Prime Minister Narendra Modi have been very clear that people are frustrated with extortion and they are all craze for a solution and lasting peace.

The Naga delegation was also cornered in a way when the issue of 'Nagas of Myanmar' was raised by the centre.

Sharing an anecdote of the meeting, sources claimed Amit Shah himself made reference to the word 'Manipur' .

Obviously this was in reference to NSCN-IM leader Thuingaleng Muivah, who is a Tangkhul Naga and Tangkhuls mostly reside in Manipur hilly region.

At one point during discussions, the Core Committee was quizzed, "You all are talking about Naga integrity, integration of Naga inhabited areas.

But what about the Nagas of Myanmar, are you taking them on board?" .

Puzzled at such a question, one member amongst the 11-member panel meekly remarked, "Sir, that's out of the box" .

The umbrella organisation of seven militant groups operating within Nagaland, NNPG, has signeda preliminary Agreed Position pact in 2017 and is keenly awaiting centre's call for signing the peace pact.

Sources also say that in their Status Paper, the NNPG had proposed for 'special autonomous territorial councils' for Nagas of Arunachal Pradesh, Manipur and Nagaland even with legislative powers.

In a major development on Sept 13, the two rival camps NSCN-IM and NNPG came together and signed a joint statement stating - "We are aware of our differences" and therefore all individuals and organisations should "refrain" from all forms of "rhetoric, assumptions and agendas that are divisive" .

The Joint Accordant clearly laid down a roadmap.

It aptly said - " order to chart a path forward, we (NNPG and NSCN-IM) remain committed to peace and respect and to resolve outstanding issues amongst us" .

Demand for President's Rule: The influential Central Nagaland Tribal Council has demanded imposition of President's Rule in the state to facilitate an early solution to the Naga insurgency and also to eradicate corruption.

'The CNTC is of the view that unabated corruption over the years has led to financial crunch while the government, despite assurances failed to take action on the rampant extortion,' it asserted.

The rampant extortion has led to increase in price and the common people face the burden, it said, adding that most of the government employees have not been paid salaries, while there has been no progress in education, infrastructure, law and governance etc.

* The sender of this news can be contacted at nirendev1(AT)gmail(DOT)com .

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