The National Socialist Council of Nagaland (Isak-Muivah) on Saturday reasserted its demand for a separate Naga national flag and Constitution, The Imphal Press reported. This came a day after the Centre dismissed the insurgent group’s demands, and said they were delaying peace negotiations.

“The Indian authorities who deal with the talks are also well informed that the Indo-Naga political solution without Naga flag and constitution is not conclusive and that will create a room for [a] future headache,” NSCN(IM) Chairman Q Tuccu said in a statement, according to Hindustan Times. “We are looking for a lasting solution.”

Tuccu said the Nagas were “the aggrieved”, and that their movement began when “Indian and Burmese aggressor-states” had allegedly intruded into their land, which gave rise to the resistance movement and led to armed confrontations. The group accused the Centre of “creating fear psychosis in Nagalim” with the deployment of thousands of security forces.

“If Government of India chooses military option to dictating the negotiating team, that will not be the end of the matter,” the statement read, according to The Imphal Press. “The issue will remain alive and kicking. The Nagas are always for a negotiated settlement based on the doctrine of mutual consent and recognition of rights.”

The NSCN(IM) also clarified that the framework agreement, signed in 2015, was the meeting point for the two sides – Indians and Nagas – and the “rallying point for the divided Nagas”. NSCN(IM) General Secretary Thuingaleng Muivah and Governor RN Ravi had signed the framework agreement in the presence of Prime Minister Narendra Modi on August 3, 2015.

The statement added that the framework agreement would ensure an acceptable solution for the conflict as it addressed India’s security concerns and the rights of Nagas. “We are now entering a new era where together we will build a land of peace and progress; together we face the common dangers, together we work and live for a common cause, and together we glorify the name of the Lord,” the statement said, according to Morung Express.

Tuccu added that India had recognised the sovereignty of the Nagas, but Nagas and Indians “will not be totally separated”. He said they will co-exist alongside with shared sovereignty, asserting that it did not mean the two sides would become one entity.

Naga talks interlocutor and state’s Governor RN Ravi on Friday said some NSCN(IM) leaders through various media platforms were misleading the people with “absurd assumptions and presumptions” about what they have signed with the Government of India. He added that endless negotiations cannot be held with the insurgent group under the shadow of guns.

United Committee Manipur said it would hold an emergency public meeting-cum-protest on Monday, against Ravi’s statements. UCM President Sunil Karam said the committee had been objecting to the formation of an autonomous territorial Naga council, and the extension of Article 371 (a) [special provisions for Nagaland] in the neighbouring states since the peace talks began.

They said Ravi went against the UCM demand and claimed the 22-year-long peace talks could be concluded by October 31, The Imphal Free Press reported.

Meanwhile, Manipur Chief Minister N Biren Singh said on Saturday that the government would ensure that territorial integrity of the state was upheld amid Naga peace talks. He said the state believed the Centre and the leadership would respect the sentiments of the people of Manipur.

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