Naga delegation meets Shah, pushes for revival of talks

September 13, 2022 12:00 am | Updated 05:42 am IST - New Delhi

Discussions have been stalled after exclusion of 3 key issues

Amit Shah

Amit Shah

A Naga delegation led by Nagaland Chief Minister Neiphiu Rio met Union Home Minister Amit Shah on Monday to push for revival of talks between the Centre’s envoy and Isak-Muivah faction of the National Socialist Council of Nagaland (NSCN-IM).

The talks broke down in June after the Centre’s envoy - A.K. Mishra - excluded three political points, earlier agreed to by former Naga interlocutor R.N. Ravi, from the final proposal submitted to the NSCN-IM, said T.R. Zeliang, chairman, United Democratic Alliance (UDA), Nagaland who was present in Monday’s meeting.

Excluded points

The three “excluded points” are inclusion of Yehzabo (Naga constitution) into the Indian constitution, integration of Naga-dominated areas of Assam, Arunachal Pradesh and Manipur into the existing State of Nagaland and creation of regional autonomous territory council for Manipur and Arunachal Pradesh.

A Nagaland government-led consultative committee which includes Chief Minister Neiphiu Rio, Deputy Chief Minister Y. Patton, and Mr. Zeliang in a meeting in March had adopted a resolution that the Naga peace talks conclude early and be transparent.

“The Home Minister was apprised about the trust deficit between NSCN-IM and Mr. Mishra. After Mr. Mishra excluded the three points from the final proposal, NSCN-IM walked away from the talks. The points excluded by the envoy were agreed to by the former interlocutor R.N. Ravi. This is what the IM [Isak-Muivah faction] is unhappy about,” Mr. Zeliang told The Hindu .

He added that Mr. Shah gave them a patient hearing and the message will now be conveyed to NSCN-IM. The delegation met Mr. Mishra on September 9. “We were here to meet the Prime Minister, but he directed us to meet the Home Minister. The NSCN-IM said there was no point of discussion after the three political points were excluded from the final ‘Competency’. It is silent on Yehzabo . Both the interlocutors have agreed on a flag for the Nagas,” Mr. Zeliang said.

Mr. Mishra, former Special Director with the Intelligence Bureau, was appointed as an adviser in the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) in 2020 to continue the Naga talks after NSCN-IM refused to carry on the negotiations with Mr. Ravi.

The Centre is engaged in discussions with the NSCN-IM and seven Naga National Political Groups (NNPGs) to find a solution to the Naga political issue. The NSCN-IM, a key player in Naga peace talks, has been demanding a separate Constitution and a flag for the Nagas and creation of ‘Greater Nagaland’ or ‘Nagalim’ by integrating Naga-dominated areas in neighbouring Assam, Manipur and Arunachal Pradesh to unite 1.2 million Nagas.

“The final agreement depends entirely on the two negotiating parties. We were here to apprise the Centre about the issues blocking the talks,” Mr. Zeliang said.

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