[ Taba Ajum ]
ITANAGAR, Oct 20: With the government of India reportedly readying to sign the Naga peace accord, the Tirap, Changlang & Longding People’s Forum (TCLPeF) has appealed to the government of India to sign the agreement at the earliest.
There is a buzz that the drafts of the agreements to be signed with militant outfits and civil society organizations of Nagaland have almost been finalized. The Centre has also made it clear to the NSCN (IM) that it would not be possible for it to accept the demand for a separate flag and constitution.
Speaking to this daily over the phone, the president of the TCLPeF, Nguntim Changmi said that early conclusion of the Naga peace accord is crucial for peace and normalcy to return.
“We need permanent peace in our region. Enough innocent lives have been lost due to insurgency problems. Peace can be achieved only through the signing of the Indo-Naga peace accord,” said Changmi.
Regarding the possibility of the Centre granting autonomous council status to the TCL region as part of the peace accord, he said it was nothing new.
“Since 2003, we have been seeking autonomous councils. All the politicians, cutting across districts and regions of state, have supported us, considering the backward condition of the region. However, as our state does not come under the 6th schedule, we were not granted autonomous council. But the government of India has indicated that, under the Naga peace accord, autonomous council will be granted,” said the TCLPeF president.
He appealed to the rest of the state to not oppose the granting of autonomous council status to the TCL region.
“We are proud Arunachalees and will remain so in the future. But due to insurgency problems, our region is very backward.
Before opposing granting of autonomy, the people should visit the area and know the ground reality,” said Changmi.
He also said that all the people living in TCL districts, irrespective of the tribe they belong to, “including the non-Nagas,” would benefit from the granting of autonomous council status, and the rest of the state should not see it as some kind of separatist movement.
The TCLPeF recently wrote to the prime minister’s office and called for early signing of the peace accord.
“We have met RN Ravi, Nagaland governor and the Centre’s interlocutor, over the Naga peace talks a couple of times. Our only objective is to see peace return. Until there is peace, there will be no development, and permanent peace in the TCL region can be achieved only through signing of the Indo-Naga peace agreement. We hope for an early solution,” Changmi said.
The Indo-Naga framework agreement was signed on 3 August, 2015, by NSCN (IM) general secretary Thuingaleng Muivah and the government’s interlocutor Ravi, in the presence of Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Since then, the talks are ongoing to finalize the agreement.