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NSCN-IM settles for ‘shared sovereignty’

An NSCN (I-M) cadre with an M 16 rifle. Ritu Raj Konwar

An NSCN (I-M) cadre with an M 16 rifle. Ritu Raj Konwar  

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In the right direction, says official

In the two years that the Centre signed a framework agreement with the National Socialist Council of Nagaland (Isak-Muivah) to find a solution to the decades-old Naga sovereignty issue, the outfit has recruited around 5,000 new cadres, a senior government official said.

He said NSCN-IM, one of the largest groups representing Nagas, has been recruiting locals on the ground that they would be recruited in the central armed police forces, once the final agreement was signed. The details of the framework agreement are yet to be made public.

On May 9, NSCN-IM issued a statement saying as of now the Nagas have agreed to co-exist with India under “shared sovereignty.”

  • In 1997, NSCN (Isak-Muivah) signed a ceasefire agreement for an indefinite period with the Centre.
  • On August 3, 2015, the government had signed the 'framework agreement' with the NSCN-IM for finding a final solution to the vexed Naga issue.
  • Last year, while extending Armed Forces Special Powers Act in three districts of Arunachal Pradesh, Centre in a notification cited “extortion and intimidation” by the cadres of NSCN-IM as one of the reasons for doing so.
  • The notification said that “Naga underground factions including NSCN-IM and NSCN-K continue to indulge in extortion, area domination, recruitment of locals and inter-factional rivalry.”

Asked about the statement, a top government official involved in talks with the NSCN-IM told The Hindu that it is “not necessary to react to every statement they make. We are in the right direction.”

The concerns around NSCN-IM recruiting fresh cadres was shared by officials with home minister Rajnath Singh at a high-level meet on Monday to discuss various issues pertaining to the North East.

“In 2015, when NSCN-IM signed an agreement, it had 2,000 cadres in its fold, after that they recruited 5,000 more. The current strength is 5,000 as 2,000 deserted the ranks. It’s a worrying trend, as they are promising them jobs in central forces,” said the official.

Security forces have also been raising the issue of extortion by the NSCN-IM in different parts of Nagaland and Manipur and asked it to stop such activity.

On August 3, 2015, the government had signed the 'framework agreement' with the NSCN-IM for finding a final solution to the vexed Naga issue. The agreement was signed in the presence of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the outfit's leader T Muivah at the prime minister's residence

“The framework agreement contained various demands of NSCN-IM and a separate passport and flag was also demanded by them then. The government of India’s reply was very clear on this that we don’t agree to this,” said another government official. The NSCN-IM has been in talks with the Centre's representative for last 17 years, even since it had entered into a ceasefire agreement in 1997.

The talks seem to have lost steam after the death of Isak Chisi Swu (86) last year. Naga outfits envisage a “Greater Nagalim” comprising the contiguous Naga-inhabited areas of Assam, Arunachal Pradesh, Manipur with Nagaland and also a large tract of Myanmar.

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Printable version | Jan 24, 2020 9:55:41 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/other-states/nscn-im-settles-for-shared-sovereignty/article18493154.ece

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