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Assam CM Himanta Biswa Sarma meets Muivah, discusses Naga issue

Assam CM Himanta Biswa Sarma and his Nagaland counterpart Neiphiu Rio would be meeting senior NSCN (I-M) leaders, including its general secretary Thuingaleng Muivah in Dimapur on September 21.   | Photo Credit: RITU RAJ KONWAR

Assam Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma, assigned by Union Home Minister Amit Shah, met senior Naga extremist leader Thuingaleng Muivah in Nagaland’s Dimapur on Tuesday.

Mr. Muivah is the general secretary of the Isak-Muivah faction of the National Socialist Council of Nagaland, or NSCN (I-M).

Nagaland Chief Minister Neiphiu Rio was with Dr. Sarma during the closed-door meeting that lasted an hour. The issues discussed were not made public.

Less than 24 hours after meeting Mr. Shah in New Delhi, the Assam Chief Minister drove to the private residence of Mr. Rio after landing at Dimapur around 12:30 pm. The two went to the meeting venue at a Nagaland police facility together.

After the meeting, Dr. Sarma went a resort nearby and held separate discussions with former Intelligence Bureau special director A.K. Mishra and State BJP leaders, including Deputy Chief Minister Y. Patton, party chief Temjen Imna Along Longkumer and some Ministers.

Mr. Mishra met Mr. Muivah on Monday. After the meeting, NSCN (I-M) leader R. Raising told journalists it would be meaningless to sign any agreement that denied the Nagas their flag and constitution.

Prior to leaving for Dimapur, Dr. Sarma told journalists in Guwahati that it was a “routine” visit for a “political reason”.

“I keep going to Nagaland, Manipur, Tripura and Mizoram. There is nothing new. My visit is political. I am going there for a political reason,” he said. He also disclosed that he had met the NSCN (I-M) leadership informally three-four times in Delhi.

Congress’s apprehension

Reacting to Dr. Sarma’s “involvement” in the Naga issue, the Assam Congress apprehended the possibility of the State’s territorial integrity being compromised in view of the NSCN (I-M)’s demand for the creation of ‘Greater Nagalim’ by bringing all Naga-inhabited areas of the Northeast under one administrative umbrella.

“The Manipur Chief Minister [N. Biren Singh] has been also asked to be a part of the talks along with the Assam Chief Minister. But we have come know that the Manipur Chief Minister has decided not to participate in the talks due to differences on Greater Nagalim issue,” Assam Congress president Bhupen Kumar Borah said.

He sought to know in what capacity Dr. Sarma held the talks with Mr. Muivah and if the Chief Minister could do this without taking the State Assembly and the Cabinet into confidence.

Earlier, Dr. Sarma said his government was informally holding talks with Paresh Baruah, chairman of the outlawed United Liberation Front of Asom-Independent or ULFA (I).

“The Assam government has maintained some communication with Paresh Baruah... I asked the Union Home Minister if I can directly talk to Baruah should there be such a situation. He gave the permission,” he stated

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Printable version | Oct 25, 2021 6:27:56 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/other-states/assam-cm-sarma-to-play-a-role-in-naga-peace-process/article36582849.ece

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