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NSCN-IM taking part in peace talks: Ravi

Naga interlocutor R.N. Ravi said on Thursday that discussions to finalise the Naga accord were continuing and the National Socialist Council of Nagaland (Isak-Muivah) [NSCN-IM] had come on board.

Mr. Ravi, who is also the Nagaland Governor, told The Hindu , “The accord has not been finalised yet. Matters are under discussion. NSCN-IM has come on board.”

Prime Minister Narendra Modi had been apprised of the latest developments and some kind of agreement with all groups, including the NSCN-IM, would be signed soon, a senior government official said.

It is not clear if the accord would be signed before November 2 when Mr. Modi leaves for Thailand or upon his return.

On October 18, Mr. Ravi had said that the Naga peace process would conclude by October 31, adding that there would be no separate flag or constitution for the Nagas as being demanded by the NSCN-IM.

He had also accused the NSCN-IM — with which the Centre had signed a framework agreement on August 3, 2015 — of delaying the talks to find a solution to the decades-old Naga issue.

Mr. Ravi had been meeting leaders of other delegations, including the six Naga National Political Groups (NNPG), in the last leg of meetings in Delhi.

Use of flag

The NNPG in a statement claimed the Centre has “endorsed the usage of Naga emblem/flag specifically for cultural identity within the Naga homeland.”

"The Naga flag is a political symbol and cannot be confined to socio-cultural activities. therefore, together in one voice, Nagas would pursue it politically and democratically," NNPG said.

The NSCN-IM has been fighting for ‘Greater Nagaland’ or Nagalim — it wants to extend Nagaland’s borders by including Naga-dominated areas in neighbouring Assam, Manipur and Arunachal Pradesh — to unite 1.2 million Nagas. The Centre has however, ruled out any disintegration of the States of Assam, Arunachal Pradesh and Manipur in order to merge the Naga-inhabited areas with the existing State of Nagaland.

MHA said in a statement that rumours were being spread on social media that final Naga settlement has been arrived at and it was creating anxiety and concern in some parts of the country. "It is clarified that before any settlement is arrived at with Naga groups, all stakeholders including States of Assam, Manipur and Arunachal Pradesh will be duly consulted," MHA said.

An all party- delegation led by Manipur Chief Minister N. Biren Singh had camped in Delhi for two days to protest against any territorial changes. The delegation met Home Minister Amit Shah on Wednesday and was assured that the interests of Manipur will be taken into account before finalising the Naga peace accord.

On October 18, Mr. Ravi held detailed consultations for over three hours with the apex leadership of all the 14 Naga tribes of Nagaland, all the minority non-Naga tribes of Nagaland, the Nagaland GB Federation, the Nagaland Tribes Council, the Church leaders and civil society organizations in Kohima.

Mr. Ravi shared the details of the 2015 framework agreement signed with NSCN-IM and the 2017 agreement signed with the armed Naga National Political Groups (NNPGs) with the delegation.

Alezo Venuh, a senior member of NSCN/GPRN, another Naga group, who was engaged in discussions with Mr. Ravi this week said, “We do not know the details of the agreement but we have agreed in principle to join the peace process and all issues have been worked on. The agreement can be signed anytime soon.”