Nagaland’s neighbours in the northeast — Arunachal Pradesh, Assam and Manipur — are on edge with the “deadline” for settling the Naga political issue drawing near.
Nagaland Governor R.N. Ravi, also the interlocutor for the Naga issue, had in a statement said that the peace talks would conclude by October 31.
Representatives of the Centre, the Isak-Muivah faction of the National Socialist Council of Nagaland (NSCN-IM) and other Naga stakeholders are expected to meet for a final push in New Delhi on Thursday.
The governments and civil society organisations in Arunachal Pradesh, Assam and Manipur have made it clear that they would not compromise on their territorial integrity.
Though the contents of the Framework Agreement signed with the NSCN-IM in August 2015 are not known, Nagaland’s neighbours have been wary of the outfit’s demand for Nagalim or Greater Nagaland that would entail redrawing of boundaries to bring all Naga-inhabited areas in the northeast under one administrative umbrella.
There have been indications that the NSCN-IM has dropped this demand, but its insistence on a separate “Naga national flag” and “Naga Yezabo (Constitution)” has raised fears about a Nagalim-like arrangement in some form or the other.
The map of Nagalim, released by NSCN-IM a few years ago, spreads over 1,03,473 sq km beyond the 16,527 sq km area of Nagaland.
It includes the Anjaw, Changlang, Lohit, Longding, Namsai and Tirap districts of Arunachal Pradesh; Dima Hasao and Karbi Anglong districts and parts of Dibrugarh, Golaghat, Jorhat, Sivasagar and Tinsukia districts in Assam; and Chandel, Kamjong, Kangpokpi, Senapati, Tamenglong, Tengnoupal and Ukhrul districts of Manipur.
“Five civil society organisations have come together to take up pre-emptive measures together as we suspect the final solution may disintegrate or pave the way for the disintegration of Manipur,” said Sunil Karam, the coordinator of the newly formed Coordinating Committee on Manipur Integrity.
Manipur had erupted in violent protests in June 2001 when the Centre had extended the scope of the ceasefire with the NSCN-IM from the confines of Nagaland to other parts of the northeast.