Union home minister Rajnath Singh with representatives Eastern Nagaland People’s Organisation (ENPO) in 2015 Credit: File image

Kohima: While the Naga Peace Accord continues to await the Centre’s nod, the Union ministry of home affairs (MHA) has reportedly agreed to hold discussions with the Eastern Nagaland People’s Organisation (ENPO) on its demands for a separate state of Nagaland.

ENPO, an apex body of six Naga tribes, has been demanding the creation of a separate state, ‘Frontier Nagaland’, comprising the four eastern districts of Tuensang, Mon, Longleng and Kiphire, for over a decade now.

An Indian Express report quoted officials as saying, “A tripartite dialogue was held between the ENPO, Nagaland government and the MHA under the chairmanship of special secretary (internal security) last month.”

However, the report said, “The officials have only agreed to discuss the demands of ENPO and no final decision has been taken, while sources said the move may lead to division of state as the ENPO demands a Frontier Nagaland.”

ENPO president Khoiwang Konyak was also quoted as saying, “Our demands and political issues are different from other Naga groups, including NSCN-IM, and are primarily concerned with six tribes, namely Chang, Konyak, Khiamniungan, Phom, Sangtam and Yimchunger.”

The demands for a separate state laid by ENPO is believed to have stemmed from the fact that the tribes residing in all the four districts have felt left behind compared to the other tribes of the Northeastern state, in terms of development.

The Naga peace accord has been hanging fire since a framework agreement was signed with the National Socialist Council of Nagaland (Isak-Muivah) [NSCN-IM] in 2015, with the government yet to give it a thumbs up. The government had in 2014 appointed a former Intelligence officer RN Ravi as an interlocutor to hold discussions with all the stakeholders, led by the NSCN-IM. However, after more than four years and several rounds of talks, the Centre is yet to come up with a peace accord.

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