The National Socialist Council of Nagalim (Isak-Muivah faction) on Wednesday said the Naga peace talks were back on the table, and accused Centre-appointed interlocutor RN Ravi of spreading confusion by making “reckless statements”, PTI reported.
The assertion came three weeks after Ravi said in the Nagaland Assembly that the political negotiations have concluded, and that there was a need to move swiftly towards a “final solution”.
“Recently, unnecessary confusion was thrown into the air because of a reckless statement made by RN Ravi, the governor of Nagaland, in the state Assembly that the Indo-Naga political talks have concluded,” the armed group, which has been involved in the peace talks since 1997, said. “It is a matter of regret that his [Ravi’s] role as interlocutor is nothing less than disparaging and dismal.”
The National Socialist Council of Nagalim added that it would not sign any agreement that is “short of mutual standards agreed upon”. It said that Ravi should be “cautious about every single word he utters” about the matter.
“No doubt, this is the ground reality of the Indo-Naga political talk and NSCN talk team is leaving no stone unturned to safeguard the political identity of the Naga people,” the group added, according to NDTV. “By blatantly contradicting the government of India and the Indian Parliament besides the 136 crores Indians and the world community in the matter of such sensitive political negotiations going on for more than two decades.”
Noting that the negotiations were being held to arrive at a solution that is honourable and acceptable for the Centre as well as the Naga people, the NSCN(IM) said, “This is the official understanding and the only way to conclude talks.”
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 (Isak-Muivah), the largest of all Naga armed groups, signed a peace treaty and started a dialogue with the Union government. Since then, seven other groups have followed suit and the peace talks are said to have expedited under the Narendra Modi government with Ravi as the interlocutor.
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.