The Ministry of Home Affairs on Thursday issued a clarification and said that all stakeholders will be taken into confidence before the Naga peace talks are concluded. It dismissed reports that the Naga accord has been finalised.

“It has come to notice of the Government that lots of rumours and misinformation is being spread in media including social media that final Naga settlement has been arrived at and will be announced soon,” the ministry said in a statement. “This is creating anxiety and concern in some parts of the country. No credence needs to be given to such rumours and incorrect information.”

The home ministry assured that all stakeholders including the states of Assam, Manipur and Arunachal Pradesh “will be duly consulted and their concerns will be taken into consideration” before peace accord is signed.

However, has learnt that the National Socialist Council of Nagalim (Isak-Muivah) has agreed to sign a peace accord without a separate Naga constitution and with a “conditional flag” that can only be allowed for non-governmental purposes. “We have agreed to finalise the agreement,” a member of NSCN (IM)’s negotiation team told “The flag and the Constitution will be pursued later.”

The development comes just as the October 31 deadline set by the Centre for a final settlement with Naga armed groups was about to lapse. However, it is not clear when the agreement will formally be signed. “There will be a proper signing ceremony soon,” said the leader. “We have to go over all the agreed competencies before signing. It may take some time.”

The peace talks had hit a roadblock after the NSCN (IM) remained firm on its demands for a separate Naga national flag and Constitution, which it claimed was committed to in the framework agreement it had signed with the Centre on August 3, 2015.

Naga peace talks

In 1997, the NSCN (IM), 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.

The scope of the talks has been broadened since October 2017, when six other Naga armed groups joined negotiations. Having signed ceasefires, these now called themselves Naga National Political Groups and operated as one bloc. They include the NSCN (Kitovi Zhimomi), the Naga Nationalist Council, the Federal Government of Nagaland, the NSCN (Reformation), the National Peoples Government of Nagaland (Non-Accord), the Government Democratic Republic of Nagaland (Non-Accord). Later, the Khango Konyak-led faction of the NSCN (Khaplang) also joined talks.

These groups have been more flexible with their position. Last month, they went public, expressing their intent to sign an agreement without a flag and a constitution – the issues holding up a final agreement between the NSCN (IM) and the Centre.

Also read: Anxiety over Naga settlement sparks protests in Manipur – and even a ‘government-in-exile’