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Naga peace talks: NSCN-IM, NNPG pledge to 'move forward and overcome cynicism'

The Naga peace talks saw a merciful positive moment on Wednesday.

Naga peace talks

Sentinel Digital DeskBy : Sentinel Digital Desk

  |  16 Sep 2022 7:55 AM GMT

NEW DELHI: The Naga peace talks saw a merciful positive moment on Wednesday. Amid fast changing developments with regard to the Naga peace talks, the two warring militant groups - NSCN-IM led by Thuingaleng Muivah and the umbrella organization NNPG led by N Kitovi Zhimomi - on Wednesday pledged in a joint statement to "overcome the cynicism" and make forward movement in peace.

"We are committed to a dialogue in order to move forward, live in peace and overcome the cynicism," read the statement inked by VS Atem, the top military commander of NSCN-IM, and Alezo Venuh, NNPG coordinator.

The statement said, among other things, that "disagreements" between Nagas and Naga groups have made each one "foes and strangers, rather than members of the same family".

It said, "We are aware of our differences", adding that therefore, all individuals and organizations should "refrain" from all forms of "rhetoric, assumptions and agendas that are divisive".

The joint statement added: "Such a culture must end immediately".

The initiative for the joint meeting was taken by a group of social workers and intellectuals under the platform 'Forum for Naga Reconciliation'.

Notably, the development came within two days after the Centre categorically directed the Nagaland Core Committee of legislators and ministers to meet the NSCN-IM leadership and convince them to sign the final peace pact at the earliest.

When contacted, a key NNPG leader told this reporter that "the need of the hour is that Nagas should no longer confuse themselves, and instead focus on an early solution for peace in the State of Nagaland".

Nagaland Chief Minister Neiphiu Rio also expressed his "deep appreciation" to the FNR, the NSCN-IM and the working committee of NNPG on the "historic step taken to remain committed to peace, unity, respect and settling outstanding issues".

"Peace and unity is the only way forward", Rio tweeted late on Wednesday.

There are some inherent complexities in the entire issue. While the NNPG wants a solution for Nagas of Nagaland and also that the 'regional territorial council' should be given to the Nagas outside Nagaland - like in Assam, Manipur and Arunachal Pradesh - for its part, NSCN-IM holds a sizable presence in the hilly areas of Manipur.

Thuingaleng Muivah himself is a Tangkhul Naga from Manipur and reportedly the 'Manipur angle' figured at the September 12 meeting in Delhi between Home Minister Amit Shah and a Naga delegation led by Chief Minister Rio.

Various socio-political bodies and even the NNPG had earlier alleged that the NSCN-IM wants to dictate terms to 'Nagas of Nagaland''- which they would reject outright.

At the September 12 meeting, Shah had 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 to expedite the peace process.

This reference was made to the NSCN-IM, which had stalled the peace talks by raising the demands for a Naga flag and a separate constitution.

At the meeting, recent data revealed by the National Crime Records Bureau that the state of Nagaland tops the list of States for extortion and related offences also figured.

"People are fed up with extortion in the name of peace process", several Naga leaders insisted.

With regard to the flag and a separate Naga constitution, Shah was reportedly yet again categorical, saying: "Woh baat nahi karna (Please do not raise these two issues)".

The Home Minister, however, assured: "You ask for anything else, we are there with you".

The ball is finally yet again in the court of the NSCN-IM - which originally entered the peace parleys with the Centre way back in 1997.

With the Centre having made it clear that the onus is on the NSCN-IM to end the stalemate and ensure an early inking of a peace pact, the Nagaland Core Committee led by Chief Minister Rio is now likely to meet the militant leaders after September 22.

HOUSE RESOLUTION: Meanwhile, official sources said that a two-day session of the Nagaland Assembly would be held from September 20 where a fresh resolution urging the Central Government to resolve the Naga political issue is expected to be adopted.

A senior official said that the 12th session of the 13th Nagaland Assembly is again likely to adopt a resolution requesting the Centre to finalize the long-pending Naga political issue at the earliest. The Assembly earlier also, cutting across party lines, adopted such unanimous resolutions to settle the Naga political issue without further delay. (IANS)

Also Read: NSCN-IM & NNPGs Bridges All Gaps, To Work Together for Naga Peace

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