Nagaland peace talks: No breakthrough in stalemate over issue of separate flag & constitution in 4th sitting

Shah assures Nagaland CM that government won’t be replaced after the talks, reported The Nagaland Express

Nagaland people protest (Photo courtesy: social media)
Nagaland people protest (Photo courtesy: social media)

NH Web Desk

Talks between the Government of India and the NSCN (IM) continued on October 28 without any breakthrough in the stalemate over the issue of separate Naga flag and constitution, reports The Morung Express. It was the fourth formal sitting between GoI Interlocutor and Nagaland Governor RN Ravi and the NSCN (IM) Collective Leadership led by General Secretary Th Muivah since the political negotiations resumed on October 10 in New Delhi after a two-month break.

With reports rife of the GoI stipulating October 31, 2019 as the deadline to conclude the 22-year old political dialogue, a senior NSCN (IM) leader commented that it would be unwise to specify deadlines.

An online news agency reported on October 28 that the GoI has decided to withdraw the October 31 deadline. Queried on this, the NSCN (IM) leader maintained that the question of withdrawing deadline does not arise as there was no such issuance or official stipulation from the GoI in the first place.

He added that there was no announcement of deadline withdrawal at the meeting today. According to him, both sides want to end the talks at the earliest; however, the ongoing political dialogue cannot happen under the dictate of deadlines. He described the day’s meeting as cordial and informed that the next meeting has been scheduled on October 29.

Interlocutor Ravi will likely hold back-to-back talks with the Working Committee (WC) of the 7 Naga National Political Groups and the NSCN (IM) on October 29. A senior member of the WC informed that its leadership was scheduled to formally sit down with Ravi October 29 at 11:00am.

Meanwhile, a report carried in The Nagaland Post stated that Ravi had ruled out any delay in meeting the October 31 deadline ‘under any circumstances as promised earlier by Prime Minister Narendra Modi’.

Ravi’s statement came after several round of talks on Monday with NSCN (I-M) negotiators led by Th. Muivah that ended inconclusively. Earlier, the meetings held on October 24 and 26 prior to the October 31 deadline also ended inconclusive over the same issue.

Ravi made his categorical statement when contacted by Nagaland Post, the newspaper’s website said. Ravi reiterated that “the time-frame of October 31st stands. I have emphatically reiterated today also”.

On Monday’s meeting, Ravi said it was “inconclusive” but that both sides were “keen to resolve the issue”. The meeting was held between Ravi and NSCN (I-M) delegation led by Ato Kilonser and chief negotiator, Th. Muivah in New Delhi.

Asked if he would still be meeting with NSCN (I-M) even as the October 31 deadline was drawing to a close, he said, “We would like to make the best use of the three days left.”

Another report carried by The Nagaland Post, titled ‘No directives to dissolve NLA’, said the ruling PDA coalition in Nagaland has reportedly been given an assurance by Union Home minister Amit Shah that the government under chief minister Neiphiu Rio would continue even in a post-solution scenario.

This was the reply by one legislator who attended the PDA meeting on October 28, when asked about reports that Amit Shah had recently conveyed to Nagaland chief minister, deputy chief minister and state BJP president to be prepared to pave way for any alternative arrangement that arises post solution.

According to highly placed political sources, this message was also conveyed to the Cabinet when it met on Monday afternoon, that neither would there be any “interim government nor dissolution of the state assembly if solution to the Naga political issue is achieved”.

Yet another piece carried by The Nagaland Post, titled ‘NSF urges GoI to bring NSCN (I-M), NNPGs on board’, reported that Naga Students’ Federation (NSF) has appealed to the Government of India to bring on board both NSCN (I-M) and WC of NNPGs for lasting peace.

NSF president Ninoto Awomi said this while interacting with media persons on the sidelines of a candlelight vigil cum prayer session that was held at NSF office Naga Club building here on Monday night.

NSF president said that Naga people cannot afford in case government of India signed the agreement with only seven NNPGs. “If such things happen instead of lasting peace to the Nagas it would bring more problems to the Nagas,” he said.

Reiterating NSF stand on Naga issue, Awomi said the federation has been always for sovereignty and integration since its inception. He said those were the basic principle and objective of NSF founding members, adding that the federation always stick to that.

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