Tamil Nadu Governor RN Ravi on Wednesday resigned as the Centre’s interlocutor for the Naga peace talks. The Union home ministry said on Twitter that his resignation has been accepted with immediate effect.
Ravi had been the interlocutor for the peace talks since 2015.
Ravi submitted his resignation as the interlocutor four days after he took oath as the Tamil Nadu governor. He had earlier served as the Nagaland governor for over two years.
The National Socialist Council of Nagalim (Isaac-Muivah) – the largest of the Nagaland armed groups – had demanded Ravi’s removal as both the governor of Nagaland and the interlocutor in the peace talks, according to The Indian Express.
In March, the NSCN (I-M) had remarked that Ravi’s role as an interlocutor had been “nothing less than disparaging and dismal”. This was after Ravi 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’s resignation also comes a day after Assam Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma met NSCN (I-M) General Secretary Thuingaleng Muivah.
After the meeting, the NSCN (I-M) said it is willing to restart peace talks with the new interlocutor, former Intelligence Bureau special director Akshay Mishra, The Times of India reported.
Nagaland Chief Minister Neiphiu Rio, who also attended the meeting, said that the discussion on Tuesday was “full of positivity”.
Mishra retired from the Intelligence Bureau in July, according to The Indian Express. Before his retirement, he had reportedly been dealing with Naga groups as the bureau’s in charge for North East affairs.
Talks between the NSCN (I-M) and the Centre began in 1997, when the rebel group signed a peace treaty with the government.
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 2015, Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government signed a “framework agreement” with the NSCN (I-M) – a development publicised as a major breakthrough by both sides.
In 2017, the scope of the agreement broadened when Ravi included six other Naga armed groups, now called Naga National Political Groups, in the talks. He helped in signing a second agreement with the working committee formed by these groups on November 17, 2017.
The talks were temporarily paused for two years and resumed again in 2019 when Ravi was appointed as the governor of Nagaland.