Tribe-based organisations in Nagaland have sought a settlement of the protracted Naga political issue within the three-month period Prime Minister Narendra Modi had set in July.
This was the crux of Friday’s discussion between 16 groups, including two church organisations, and Nagaland Governor R.N. Ravi, who is also the interlocutor in the peace process primarily involving the extremist Isak-Muivah faction of the National Socialist Council of Nagaland (NSCN-IM).
Leaders of the tribe-based organisations who attended the meeting declined to disclose what transpired at the meeting. But a representative of one of the largest tribes said it could be wiser to sign the deal soon and work on the ‘Naga national flag’ and ‘constitution’ later.
Mr. Ravi also told the groups that the government was keen on an early settlement.
The Nagas are divided on these two demands. While the NSCN-IM has been adamant about the flag and constitution, rival outfits clubbed as the Naga National Political Groups (NNPGs) say settlement should ideally come before these two demands.
The Centre is unlikely to accede to the two demands in view of the Kashmir development, though there are speculations in Nagaland that the Framework Agreement signed in August 2015 factored in the flag and the constitution.
The NSCN-IM had a few days ago accused Delhi of tweaking the clauses of the agreement to deny the Nagas an honourable solution. The outfit also said the Centre was trying to divide the Nagas through bribes and other means.
The Forum for Naga Reconciliation has meanwhile asked the rebels to refrain from mudslinging. “This is only harming the Naga society and making us more vulnerable to further division… We encourage NNPGs and NSCN-IM to meet, address all outstanding differences through dialogues and explore finding a common ground,” it said in a statement.