By Nirendra Dev
New Delhi, September 9 (IANS): There is a critical and significant breakthrough in the Naga peace talks. Representatives and central government officials recently visited the northeast, including Guwahati and Shillong, and the stalled talks between NSCN-IM and the Center have been revived.
The core team is currently working on a new set of formulation documents which would include a set of new and old offers to facilitate the inking of a final peace pact at the earliest.
The ball will soon be in the court of militant groups, including the NSCN-IM, whose demands for a separate Naga flag and constitution have all but stalled peace talks since October 2019.
A senior military commander of the group, which launched the ceasefire and peace talks in 1997, is involved in these crucial and final rounds of talks.
The Center is more than willing and already going the extra mile to reach the destination of peace, solution and development for the Nagas.
“Elections or no elections, the focus is on the wording documents. It’s refreshing…” a source claimed.
Nagaland is heading for the next Assembly elections by February-March 2023 along with two other northeastern states of Tripura and Meghalaya.
While the BJP runs a coalition regime with a tribal party in Tripura, it is a junior partner of the regional parties NPP in Meghalaya and NDPP in Nagaland.
A delegation of Nagaland lawmakers and ministers led by Chief Minister Neiphiu Rio is camped in Delhi to “press to speed up” the peace process and reach a quick solution.
Rio and his delegation had a meeting with AK Mishra, the peace envoy on behalf of the Centre.
The sources are silent on what happened during the meeting between the Naga delegation and Mishra.
“We know how to keep certain secrets… In the national interest, secrets have been kept secret. However, there is no second opinion that every Naga in the state of Nagaland wants a final solution. complain, however, of a deliberate delay in the peace talks,” a source said.
In a rather interesting turn of events, a leader of the Naga People’s Movement for Human Rights (NPMHR) accused the center of delaying and nearly derailing the peace process.
“While the government has repealed Article 370 and removed the flag and constitution of Kashmir… A message has been circulated deliberately or otherwise that no other state or region can have a separate flag. Here is the “question of the Nagaland “and so this link between Kashmir and Naga politics was not a wise thing to do,” the NPMHR chief said.
The Center rejected the twin demands for the Naga constitution and the flag.
Nationalists among Naga leaders like SC Jamir, a former governor of Maharashtra and Gujarat, told this reporter: “There is no need for another constitution in the Indian constitution.
Jamir, 91, who personally met Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Home Minister Amit Shah earlier this year, said: “All issues have been discussed and finalized since 2019 and now we are just waiting a solution”.
The resumption of peace talks between the Center and the NSCN-IM is certainly a positive sign and will accelerate the peace process.
The NNPG, an umbrella organization of seven militant groups, led by N. Kitovi Zhimomi, already wants to sign a peace pact.
This coordination group maintains that peace and the solution pact should be prioritized because the Nagas have suffered enough and now yearn for peace and development.
Jamir also insists that any further delay might not be good for either India’s security or the Nagas.
“Why should it be delayed in final implementation? How long will the people of Nagaland be taken on a ride? Will the people of Nagaland remain cut off from the rest of the nation?” he says.
“How long will the youth of Nagaland rot in poverty and despair as their counterparts lead a
a different life in the rest of the country,” Jamir wrote in another, most recent article, published in Nagaland newspapers on September 9.
The veteran leader, who has worked with every Indian prime minister since 1947, adds: “MPs are morally obligated to step down to ‘facilitate’ a solution – something they promised. But almost proving the old phrase, “Promises are made to be broken”, our legislators have not done so so far. They should do it at the earliest. This is the time for history – to make sacrifices. Prime Minister, are you ready for this?”