The talks between the Centre and Nagaland’s largest armed group, the National Socialist Council of Nagalim (Isaac-Muivah faction), resumed on Monday after a gap of nearly two years, The New Indian Express reported.
The peace process had been stalled as the group was firm on its demand for a separate Naga constitution and flag, the Hindustan Times reported.
The National Socialist Council of Nagalim (Isaac-Muivah) had also insisted that the talks would resume only after Ravindra Narayan Ravi’s removal as interlocutor, according to The New Indian Express.
On March 3, 2021, the group had accused Ravi of creating confusion by making “reckless statements” about the talks.
Three weeks before that, Ravi had reportedly said in the Nagaland Assembly that the political negotiations had concluded and that there was a need to move swiftly towards a “final solution”.
Ravi, who also served as the governor of Nagaland, was transferred to Tamil Nadu in September.
The peace talks, which resumed on Monday in Dimapur in Nagaland, are being led by AK Mishra, the former special director of the Intelligence Bureau.
Mishra held a meeting with Thuingaleng Muivah, the general secretary of the National Socialist Council of Nagalim (Isak-Muivah), The New Indian Express reported.
R Raising, a leader of the group, said: “We reaffirmed the Framework Agreement during today’s [Monday’s] meeting in letter and in spirit.”
Raising added that any agreement “which is short of the [Naga] flag and the constitution” will not be accepted by the group. “It will be a meaningless agreement,” he added.
Assam Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma is also scheduled to hold a meeting with Thuingaleng Muivah on Tuesday.
For over six decades, Naga nationalists have fought the Indian state for a sovereign ethnic homeland that would include Nagaland as well as the Naga-inhabited areas of Manipur, Assam, Arunachal Pradesh and Myanmar across the border.
Over the decades, the Naga armed movement split into several factions.
In 1997, the National Socialist Council of Nagalim (Isaac-Muivah faction) signed a peace treaty and started a dialogue with the Union government.
There was, however, little headway until 2015, when Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government signed a “framework agreement” with the group – a development publicised as a major breakthrough by both sides.
On October 31, 2019, talks concluded as the Naga group and the Centre broadly reached a common ground. However, a final agreement is yet to be signed – and the nitty-gritty remains to be worked out.