Centre sets deadline of Oct 31 to conclude talks with Naga groups; makes it clear that demand of separate flag & constitution would not be accepted, say sources
Kohima: Regretting that some NSCN-IM leaders through various platforms are misleading people with absurd assumptions and presumptions over what they have already agreed with the government of India, RN Ravi -- the interlocutor for Naga peace talks who is also the governor of Nagaland -- said that endless negotiations under the shadow of guns is not acceptable and that the government of India is determined to conclude the peace process without delay.
Ravi announced this following his meeting with primary stakeholders, church leaders and civil societies on Friday evening.
Meanwhile, sources in the Union home ministry have already said that the government of India has set a deadline of October 31 to conclude the process of talks with the Naga rebel groups. The Centre has also made it clear that the demand of separate flag and constitution would not be accepted.
“The government of India under the dynamic and decisive leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi has been determined and diligent to honourably conclude the Naga peace process, which has been going on for the last over 22 years. As a result, the Naga peace process, in the last five years, has become truly inclusive and reached the conclusion stage,” said a statement issued by Ravi.
“The government of India expects all negotiating parties to heed the will of the people and facilitated conclusion of the Naga peace process within the stipulated time,” the statement added.
It further said that all Naga armed groups are engaged with the government of India’s interlocutor and have worked out the draft settlement. Primary stakeholders -- tribal and civil society organisations from Nagaland, Manipur, Arunachal Pradesh and Assam -- were involved in the peace process and made valuable contributions through regular consultations and insightful inputs. The church leaders with their constant prayers and goodwill have immensely contributed to the cause of enduring peace, it added.
The interlocutor for Naga peace talks also said that the framework agreement with NSCN (IM) and the agreed position with the Working Committee (WC) of Naga National Political Groups (NNPGs) were extensively shared with the leaders, pertinent issues discussed, and doubts in competencies clarified. Political maturity and wisdom of the Naga leaders who expressed their overwhelming support in favour of a settlement without any further delay is deeply appreciated, the statement added.
The meeting held at Hotel Japfü was attended by the apex leadership of all the 14 Naga tribes of Nagaland, all the minority non Naga tirbes of Nagaland, Nagaland GB Federation, Nagaland Tribes Council, church leaders and civil society organisations.
Meanwhile, the Forum for Naga Reconciliation (FNR) on Friday expressed that Nagas are at a “turning point” -- threatened by the overwhelming “climate of fear, suspicion, confusion, division and uncertainty”.
“Yet, we are also called to be honest, sincere, mindful and discerning as we navigate our way through the present daily challenges,” a statement from the FNR said.
The FNR through its statement urged the Naga National Groups, particularly the NNPGs and the NSCN (IM) “to refrain from media-confrontation” as it “is only harming the Naga society”, making it more “vulnerable to further division”.
“Naga national issue needs to be discussed with responsible and far-sighted contemplative engagement. We, therefore, encourage the NNPGs and NSCN (IM) to meet, address all outstanding differences through dialogue and explore finding common ground,” the statement read.
The forum goes on to appreciate the Naga national groups for upholding their commitment to the “Covenant of Naga Reconciliation”.
We believe that even in this difficult situation, the principle of reconciliation will be upheld in letter and spirit, it said.
Clarifying that the forum “remains impartial and committed to Naga Reconciliation on the basis of Naga historical and political rights”, it further calls for a “healing leadership and visionary statesmanship in order to address all differences and find common ground”.