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Naga Peace Talks: Assam CM to hold discussion with NSCN-IM general secretary

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The political conflict over the Naga issue is about to come to an end, with interim interlocutor AK Mishra and Assam Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma preparing to meet with the Naga negotiating groups.

Mishra, who arrived in Dimapur on Saturday, is expected to meet with members of the NSCN-IM today before holding an official meeting on Monday, according to reliable sources. General Secretary Thuingaleng Muivah of the NSCN-IM has also made it to Dimapur from Camp Hebron, according to reliable sources.

Change for good

TR Zeliang, the leader of the NPF legislature party, recently stated that the appointment of AK Mishra as the new interlocutor for Naga peace talks can break the deadlock in ongoing negotiations.

Due to the NSCN-refusal IM’s to engage in dialogue with the group’s previous interlocutor, RN Ravi, Mishra has been working with the group as a “broker” for the past year. This will be his first encounter as the interlocutor.

Neiba Kronu, the minister of planning and coordination, land revenue, and parliamentary affairs, told journalists outside the state banquet hall on Saturday that “It is the desire of the central government and, as a new interlocutor has been appointed, we need to come closer. He knows our issues. It is not new to him. Let’s hope for the best.”

Himanta Biswa Sarma, the Assam chief minister and convener of the North East Democratic Alliance (NEDA), will arrive in Dimapur on September 21 to meet with the two Naga negotiating groups—the NSCN-IM and the NPCs.

Members of the core committee on Naga political issues, according to Kronu, are also making efforts to meet with the Naga negotiating groups.

Neiba Kronu confirmed that Himanta Biswa Sarma would be visiting Dimapur.

Sarma will meet with all of the leaders of the Naga negotiating group for the first time. Earlier, in Guwahati, the Assam chief minister met with representatives of Naga civil society groups.

The major issue

The creation of Greater Nagalim has long been a demand of the Nagas. The Naga people are spread over Nagaland, Manipur, Arunachal Pradesh, and Assam, all within India and Myanmar. All of these topics were part of Nagalim’s initial request. At this point, the discussion is limited to India as a whole. Manipur, Arunachal Pradesh, and Assam have pleaded with the central government not to compromise their territorial integrity in dealing with the Nagas. Other demands include the establishment of a separate Naga flag and constitution.

Accusations against R.N. Ravi

Last year, the National Socialist Council of Nagaland-IM made public the details of the 2015 framework agreement for the first time and accused then-interlocutor R.N. Ravi of erasing a crucial word from the original document and disseminating the modified version to other Naga organizations.

The agreement released by the NSCN-IM stated “sharing the sovereign power” and provide for an “enduring inclusive new relationship of peaceful co-existence of the two entities”.

Mr. Ravi, also Nagaland Governor, “craftily deleted the word new from the original,” according to the NSCN-IM, to justify his narrative and circulated to other Naga groups including the National Political Groups, said the organization (NNPGs).

According to the NSCN, the word ‘new’ is politically sensitive because it defines the meaning of peaceful coexistence between two entities (two sovereign powers) and strongly indicates outside the Constitution’s scope of authority.

On August 3, 2015, the NSCN-IM, one of the largest Naga groups, signed a framework agreement to put an end to the decades-old dispute.

The framework agreement shared as part of a detailed press statement issued by the NSCN-IM said, “Both sides have understood each other’s respective positions and are cognizant of the universal principle that in a democracy, sovereignty lies with the people. Accordingly, the Govt. of India and the NSCN, respecting people’s wishes for sharing the sovereign power as defined in the competencies reached an agreement on the 3rd August 2015 as an honorable solution.”

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