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NSCN-IM seeks time as govt sticks to October 31 deadline

While the contentious demand for a separate Naga flag and constitution remained inconclusive, NSCN-IM has sought more time and an extension of the October 31 deadline to wrap up the talks and ink the peace pact.

, ET Bureau|
Oct 29, 2019, 07.32 AM IST
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The working committee of NNPGs has asked elected representatives of Nagaland to clarify their stand on the ongoing Indo-Naga talks.
Guwahati: After the initial talks between the Nationalist Socialist Council of Nagalim (Isak-Muivah) and the government, ahead of the October 31 deadline, ended in a stalemate, the meeting held on Monday in New Delhi entered a decisive phase and ended on a positive note. While the contentious demand for a separate Naga flag and constitution remained inconclusive, NSCN-IM has sought more time and an extension of the October 31 deadline to wrap up the talks and ink the peace pact. A senior NSCN-IM leader told ET, “The Centre will examine our request of extension of deadline. The meeting was positive although a previous couple of rounds ended in a stalemate.” On Tuesday, the Centre’s interlocutor for Naga peace talks, RN Ravi, who is also the Nagaland Governor, will hold another round of discussions with the working committee (WC) of the Naga National Political Groups (NNPGs), which may be the final round before the peace deal.

Making their stand clear
The working committee of NNPGs has asked elected representatives of Nagaland to clarify their stand on the ongoing Indo-Naga talks. In a communiqué, the media cell of the WC of NNPGs demanded that if the parties of Nagaland “fail in their constitutional duties, they should resign and allow the ECI to derecognise the parties.” The WC reiterated that it was “time for parties in Nagaland to clear their positions in the interest of the Naga people.”

“Why did the parties not address the issue of flag, constitution and integration in the initial years,” the WC wanted to know. It said these issues “were raked up in the twentieth year of negotiations” that was now “threatening to derail 22 years of negotiations between the GoI and NSCN-IM.” The ruling People’s Democratic Alliance (PDA), which comprises the Nationalist Democratic Progressive Party (NDPP), BJP, and independent parties, which deliberated on the ongoing talks, states that the PDA always maintained a consistent stand on the Naga issue. The PDA endorsed to support the resolution of the joint legislators’ forum on August 7, 2019 which decided that the latter will continue to play the role of an active facilitator to the ongoing peace process.

Fissures within NSCN-IM
Ahead of the crucial talks on Monday, Hukavi Yeputhomi left NSCN-IM on October 26, accusing it of being “insensitive” to the people’s plea for an honourable solution to the vexed issue and joined NNPGs. A senior NSCN-IM leader, who does not want to be named, told ET, “There are differences of opinion with the outfits, for now there are talks as to how long they will continue to fight. Besides this, their leaders are also ageing. The Centre is offering us an economic package and several leaders feel that it is time we accept it.”

'Sheer Betrayal'
The Eastern Naga National Workers Forum (ENNWF) of NSCN-IM stated that the imposed solution with some economic packages that the WC of NNPGs is vying for, “is a pure mockery and betrayal to the Nagas and their easy agreement with the Government of India within two years of the so-called peace talks only for Nagas of Nagaland is nothing more than an insult to the souls of thousands of Naga martyrs who sacrificed their lives for a shared future in the course of our freedom struggle”.

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