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Special Core Committee of Naga lawmakers to meet to fast track peace talks

WebdeskJun 12, 2021, 11:31 AM IST

Special Core Committee of Naga lawmakers to meet to fast track peace talks

New Delhi:  Now that the heat and dust of West Bengal and Assam elections have settled and there is a significant drop in Covid19 cases, the Government of India and other keen stakeholders are putting the long pending Naga peace talks at the table to take things forward.

 

Sources said a special Core Committee of Nagaland Ministers and legislators is likely to meet on June 19 or 20 either virtually or in person at Kohima to deliberate the way forward on the Naga issue and the peace process.

 

The Core Committee headed by Chief Minister Neiphiu Rio as the chairman has Leader of the Opposition and NPF leader T R Zeliang and Deputy CM and BJP leader Y Patton as two Co-Convenors.

 

The panel also has members from all important political parties in the state assembly, NDPP headed by Rio himself, BJP and Opposition NPF along with an Independent member.

 

The centre is more than keen to put the final stage of peace negotiations on the fast track. Sources say, a few months of delay would again bring in 'Manipur elections' by March 2022 as another delay-tactic or at least a reason for the same.

The Home Ministry is also in touch with the Manipur government.

 

Union Home Minister Amit Shah was reportedly mandated by Prime Minister Narendra Modi to do the final rounds of spade works.

 

In March, Shah had instructed Naga leaders including former Chief Minister T R Zeliang to pass on the message to the NSCN (IM) that they should be "realistic" in facing the challenge and to deal with the issue.

 

The Centre has made it clear to Nagaland leaders and all stakeholders that the twin contentious issues of Flag and Constitution as demanded by NSCN (IM) Muivah could not be accepted or negotiated.

 

In 2019, Manipur Chief Minister N Biren had successfully impressed upon Amit Shah to ensure that the states of Manipur, Assam and Arunachal Pradesh have to be consulted as significant numbers of Naga population of different ethnic tribes reside in these three states as well.

 

The Government is ready to make the peace talks broad-based by getting every key stakeholder in the ecosystem. The NSCN (IM), the NNPG (of seven groups) and various organisations including Gaon Bura (GB) Federations need to come together.

 

In discussions between Shah, Chief Minister Rio and LoP T R Zeliang - one refrain that came up in March is --"no group should be left out".

 

There are already 11 Naga militant groups. Seven of them operate within the state of Nagaland and have come under one umbrella organisation, NNPG headed by N Kitovi Zhimomi. These groups are keen for an early solution and signing of a pact. Addressing a students conference on April 25, Chief Minister Rio had said that the Naga political movement went through several phases since the time of the Simon Commission in 1929.

 

“If the present generation cannot secure any form of solution under the Indian Constitution, then the upcoming generations would be left to seek a solution," he had said.

 

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