SHILLONG: The Centre would soon sign the Naga peace accord with various Naga insurgent factions, including the National Socialist Council of Nagalim Isak-Muivah (NSCN-IM), to put an end to the seven-decade long Naga insurgency, an official said on Thursday.
“The discussions to finalize the Naga accord between the government’s interlocutor R.N. Ravi and various factions of the NSCN, including the NSCN-IM, will continue. Once the accord is finalised, they will sign it,” a government official told IANS on condition of anonymity.
A member of NSCN-IM said that they have agreed to sign the Naga peace accord without a separate Naga constitution and with a “conditional flag” that can only be allowed for non-governmental purposes.
“We have agreed to finalize the agreement. The flag and the Constitution will be pursued later,” the rebel Naga leader said.
Meanwhile, the Centre on Thursday clarified that all stake-holders, including Assam, Manipur and Arunachal Pradesh, will be duly consulted and their concerns will be taken into consideration before any settlement is arrived at with Naga groups.
R.N. Ravi, who is also the Nagaland Governor, has been negotiating with the collective leadership of the NSCN-IM led by its General Secretary Thuingaleng Muivah since Monday in Delhi over the core issue of a separate Naga flag and constitution.
Ravi also held back-to-back talks with the working committee of the seven Naga National Political Groups (various Naga insurgent factions).
The breakthrough with the NSCN-IM, one of the most influential rebel groups in the region, is significant as Prime Minister Narendra Modi had set October 31 as the deadline to wrap up the talks and ink the peace pact.
Nagaland Chief Minister Neiphiu Rio described the breakthrough in the Naga peace talks as a “historic moment and an occasion of great joy for all Nagas and the nation as a whole.”
“Peace will now pave the way for genuine progress and true nation-building,” Rio tweeted.
“Thank you Honourable PMO India, PM Narendra Modi and Union Home Minister Amit Shah for the political will and concern for the Naga people,” the Chief Minister tweeted.
Rio also congratulated Ravi, the NSCN-IM and NNPGs for their efforts and sacrifices.
“Also, appreciation to the civil societies, mass-based organisations, NGOs, churches and the Naga people for the support and prayers. We praise God Almighty and look forward to a new era for the Naga people,” he said.
Nagaland’s Leader of Opposition T.R. Zeliang said: “The dream and desire of the Naga people for permanent peace and tranquility in our land will soon become a reality after positive outcome of Thursday’s meeting. Once again big congratulations to all parties involved in bringing about understanding,” Zeliang said.
The NSCN-IM and New Delhi entered into a ceasefire in August 1997.
The NSCN(IM), which signed the ceasefire agreement with the government, had several rounds of talks in as well as outside India over the last 22 years. The BJP government, led by Narendra Modi, had signed a “framework agreement” with the NSCN-IM leadership in 2015. (IANS)