JLF hopes for an early solution to the issue

Members of the Joint Legislators’ Forum (JLF) of Nagaland Legislative Assembly on the Naga political issue have expressed their hope for an early solution to the vexed Naga political problem.

Forum members held separate meetings with the four Naga insurgent groups — the National Socialist Council of Nagalim (Isak-Muivah), the NSCN (Khaplang), the NSCN (Khole-Kitovi) and the National Naga Council (Federal Government of Nagaland) between August 24 and September 3.

“Expedite talks’’

During these meetings, the forum representatives, led by Chief Minister Neiphiu Rio, apprised the underground groups of the meeting among the MLAs forum and Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and other central leaders in New Delhi during the first week of August. The meet sought to stress the need to expedite the ongoing Naga peace talks. All 60 legislators offered to quit their positions to facilitate an alternative political arrangement in the event of the Centre and the insurgent groups inking a peace deal. Over the past 15 years, the NSCN (IM) has been in a political dialogue with the Centre to resolve the Naga issue.

Nagaland Home Minister and senior member of the forum Imkong L. Imchen told The Hindu that he was confident that the Naga political issue would be ironed out soon.

He said that all four Naga underground groups, with whom the forum had separate discussions, had maintained that they were for reconciliation and unity. “This is a very good development. We impressed upon them to adopt the principle of ‘forget-and-forgive’ to facilitate the reconciliation,” said the Minister.

Mr. Imchen also hoped that the commitment and sincerity shown by Dr. Singh and United Progressive Alliance chairperson Sonia Gandhi would act as a catalyst in solving the vexed problem.

“We are happy especially with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi for their commitment and sincerity [towards] the vexed problem. We trust that their commitment and sincerity [will be] the main catalyst in [resolving the issue],” Mr. Imchen said.

The JLF on the Naga Political Issue was formed, with all 60 members of the Nagaland Assembly, in November 2009 to facilitate the Naga peace process. The ruling Naga People’s Front (NPF) has 34 legislators and the Opposition, the Congress, has 19 members, while there are seven independent legislators.

Mr. Imchen said an alternative arrangement was not the solution but a door towards the ultimate solution.

Another member of the forum and senior Congress leader I. Imkong said the ongoing Naga peace talks had entered a crucial phase and hoped that a solution would be hammered out soon — following which the Centre would offer talks to other groups as well. He said the ball was now in the Centre’s court.

The NSCN (IM) said it would inform the Naga political groups and people at the appropriate time about the latest development in its political dialogue with New Delhi. The NSCN (Khaplang) has been maintaining that it will not accept any solution that is without the “sovereignty of the Nagas”. The NSCN (Khole-Kitovi) has reportedly taken the position that any solution or agreement arrived at should be according to the “Naga Concordant signed by the GPRN/NSCN, the NSCN (IM) and the NNC/FGN” on August 26, 2011, in pursuance of which they decided to work towards the formation of “one Naga national government.”

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