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Naga Peace Pact in September? Centre firm on Deadline

Majority of stakeholders including Naga tribal groups and the Naga National Political Groups were reportedly ready to sign the peace accord

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PM Modi with Naga leaders (file pic)

GUWAHATI: The much-awaited Naga peace pact might soon be materialized as the Centre seemed firm on its September deadline. The first deadline to end the Naga talks was October 31, 2019, which was later extended at the NSCN (IM)’s request.

The NSCN (IM) is the largest Naga armed group in talks with the government. The Centre adn the Naga groups had signed the framework agreement in 2015 and talks were on to reach a solution so far.

Home ministry sources said that the Centre was not likely to extend the deadline further as it believed that almost all important issues had been resolved.

NSCN (IM) was reportedly continuing to remain adamant on its demand for a separate flag and constitution.“The Nagas will co-exist with India, sharing sovereign power as agreed in the Framework Agreement and defined in the competencies. But they will not merge with India,” NSCN-IM chief Thuingaleng Muivah said.

The leader earlier said that the Naga people have neither accepted the Union of India nor her Constitution at any point in time. However, the process was on to work out a common ground for a meeting point so that we may co-exist together as two entities, Muivah said.

“They (NSCN-IM) can keep negotiating on these ‘rhetorical’ matters even after signing of the peace accord. The Home Ministry has already informed the Naga leadership what were the issues on which the Centre can agree or not,” sources said.

Sources added that the ministry believed that the ball was now in the court of the Naga stakeholders. The majority of stakeholders in Nagaland, including Naga tribal groups and the Naga National Political Groups (NNPG), had given their consent to the signing of the peace accord.

The NSCN (I-M) leadership has been camping in New Delhi.

Sources in the Prime Minister’s Office said that it has asked the Intelligence Bureau Director Arvind Kumar to bring the apparently derailed talks back on track. The PMO has also reportedly asked IB Special Director Akshay Kumar Mishra to join the effort