No final pact with Naga groups; Assam, Manipur, Arunachal to be consulted: MHA

NEW DELHI, Oct 31: The Centre on Thursday said it is yet to conclude talks with Naga insurgent groups and will consult all stakeholders, including the states of Assam, Manipur and Arunachal, before finalization of any settlement.
In a statement, the ministry of home affairs (MHA) said it has come to the government’s notice that a lot of rumours and misinformation are being spread in the media, including social media, that the final Naga settlement has been arrived at and will be announced soon.
“This is creating anxiety and concern in some parts of the country. It is clarified that before any settlement is arrived at with Naga groups, all stakeholders, including states of Assam, Manipur and Arunachal Pradesh, will be duly consulted and their concerns will be taken into consideration. No credence needs to be given to such rumours and incorrect information,” the statement said.
The central government has already rejected the NSCN (IM)’s demand for unification of Naga inhabited areas located in Manipur, Arunachal and Assam. The three northeastern states have also vehemently opposed it.
Meanwhile, normal life was paralyzed in many parts of Manipur on Thursday due to a “cease-work” stir called in support of the demand that the state’s territorial integrity and administrative set-up should not be affected by the Naga peace talks.
The talks to find a lasting solution to the seven-decade-old insurgency problem in Nagaland continued for the fourth consecutive day on Thursday, with the Centre’s interlocutor and Nagaland Governor RN Ravi holding discussions with the NSCN (IM) for more than three hours, officials said.
While the dialogue with the Naga National Political Groups (NNPG) is said to be over, talks with the NSCN (IM), a major insurgent group in the Northeast, has been centered on its demands for a separate flag and constitution for the Nagas.
The outcome of Thursday’s meeting is not known immediately.
The talks were convened in Delhi in a bid to iron out differences, particularly on the NSCN (IM)’s demands for a separate flag and constitution for the Nagas, which have already been rejected by the Centre.
Ravi in a statement last week had said that a mutually agreed draft comprehensive settlement, including all the substantive issues, was ready for signing the final agreement.
“Unfortunately at this auspicious juncture, the NSCN (IM) has adopted a procrastinating attitude to delay the settlement, raising the contentious symbolic issues of separate Naga national flag and constitution, on which they are fully aware of government of India’s position,” he had said.
Ravi”s statement assumed significance in view of the Centre’s 5 August announcement abrogating the special status given to Jammu & Kashmir under Article 370. With the annulment of the special status, the separate flag and the constitution of Jammu & Kashmir cease to exist.
The framework agreement was signed on 3 August, 2015, by NSCN (IM) leader Thuingaleng Muivah and Ravi, in the presence of Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
The framework agreement came after over 80 rounds of negotiations spanning 18 years, with the first breakthrough coming in 1997 when the ceasefire agreement was sealed after decades of insurgency in Nagaland which started soon after India’s independence in 1947. (PTI)