The National Socialist Council of Nagalim (Isak-Muivah) on Sunday said its leadership had the unequivocal mandate of the Naga people to carry on the political dialogue with the Centre more actively to clinch an honourable settlement for all Nagas and the Nagalim at the earliest.

The NSCN(IM) made the assertion through a statement issued to newspapers in Nagaland. It was in response to a statement issued earlier by rival faction NSCN (Khaplang) ahead of talks between NSCN(IM) general secretary Thuingaleng Muivah and Prime Minister Manmohan Singh slated for next week.

Mr. Muivah has already arrived in Delhi at the invitation of the Centre to resume the deadlocked peace talks.

‘Premature and unwise’

The NSCN(Khaplang) said in its statement that “the position of the Naga people is firm and clear, and therefore any discussion between Dr. Singh and Th. Muivah on the Naga political issue would be premature and unwise.”

The NSCN(Khaplang) statement added: “Th. Muivah has every right to seek solutions to social problems and other issues in Ukhrul district and other Naga-inhabited areas of Manipur State, but the solution to the Indo-Naga-Burma political problem shall be the sole prerogative of the Naga people at a right opportune time.

“If New Delhi is really willing to solve the Naga political issue, it should check the ground reality in Nagaland through its many agencies and realise who truly represents the Nagas. A composite dialogue among different sections of society is taking place for genuine reconciliation among the Nagas.

“It is for the Government of India to make a choice between the Naga people and a single faction.”

Earlier, Union Home Secretary G.K. Pillai told journalists in Sukhovi in Nagaland that the final solution to the Naga problem had to be arrived with all the Naga underground groups.

‘Unwarranted’

Taking serious note of the “unwarranted and misleading press statement” of the rival faction, the NSCN(IM) pointed out that it had already conducted four to five Naga consultation meetings with respect to the ongoing peace talks.

In January 2005, the consultation meeting was held at Camp Hebron, in which more than 8,000 people representing different sections of the Naga people — including Naga Hoho, apex tribal Hohos and frontal Naga public forums — attended and gave the unequivocal mandate to the NSCN leadership to carry on the political dialogue with the Government of India more actively to clinch an honourable settlement at the earliest.

The NSCN(Khaplang) said the political problem should be solved by the Nagas themselves only after reconciliation and unity was achieved in Nagaland. The NSCN(IM), however, said the reconciliation and unity process could under no circumstances condition the political dialogue between the Government of India and the Nagas led by the NSCN(IM).