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Centre involves all stakeholders

By R Dutta Choudhury
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GUWAHATI, Aug 18 - There has been a paradigm shift in the process of talks for a permanent solution of the Naga political issues after Narendra Modi assumed office as the Prime Minister and from �exclusive�, the talks have become �inclusive�.

Highly placed sources in the Government of India told The Assam Tribune that talks with the National Socialist Council of Nagalim (I-M) started way back in 1997 but for ages, the Government was not trying to include the other stakeholders in the process. Though the NSCN (K) had also signed cease fire agreement for a brief period, no formal talk was held with the outfit.

Sources said that immediately after assuming office as the Prime Minister, Modi took a stand that the talks would have to be �inclusive� and all the stakeholders should be taken on board for permanent solution of the issues. �The Government�s stand is now very clear. The Government is of the view that it would not be possible to find permanent solution to the problems only by talking to one rebel group. The Government wants that all the rebel groups as well as the elected representatives and tribal bodies would have to be taken on board,� sources said.

Sources revealed that a section of leaders of the NSCN (I-M) did not like the idea of engaging the other rebel groups in the process and so far, they have not sat with the other rebel factions together. But the Government is firm that there would be only one accord for solution of the Naga issue and all the rebel groups would have to sign the same accord. The Government is also keen that the leaders of the tribal groups of Nagaland should also sign the accord.

Sources pointed out that after the signing of the framework agreement between the Government of India and NSCN (I-M) in 2015, the other active rebel groups of Nagaland formed an umbrella body called the Naga National Political Groups (NNPG) and started talking with the Government. The NNPG also signed a framework agreement with the Government in November, 2017. Most of the Indian origin members of the NSCN (K) have also come over ground to join the peace process.

On the progress of talks, sources said that all the issues have been settled with the NNPG and the organization is ready to sign the accord any time. Though most of the substantive issues with the NSCN (I-M) have also been settled, the outfit has raised some other issues like a separate flag and constitution, which are yet to be settled. The Government told the NSCN-(IM) leaders that after a settlement, the people of Nagaland can raise those issues democratically.

Most organizations in Nagaland are of the view that Article 371 (A) should not be diluted and the Government has accepted the demand. The rebel groups gave up the demand for sovereignty after the Government made it clear that it would not be possible for the Government to accept the demand and the solution would have to come under the provisions of the Constitution of India. On the demand for inclusion of territories of other states, the Government made it clear that it would not impose any such decision on the State Governments. �The Centre made it very clear that it would not force such decision on any State,� sources added. Clarifying the Government�s view on shared sovereignty, sources said, �the Constitution of India provides for sharing of sovereign powers between the Centre and the states. Some subjects are in the Central list and some in the state list. The State Governments have the power over the issues in the state list.�

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Centre involves all stakeholders

GUWAHATI, Aug 18 - There has been a paradigm shift in the process of talks for a permanent solution of the Naga political issues after Narendra Modi assumed office as the Prime Minister and from �exclusive�, the talks have become �inclusive�.

Highly placed sources in the Government of India told The Assam Tribune that talks with the National Socialist Council of Nagalim (I-M) started way back in 1997 but for ages, the Government was not trying to include the other stakeholders in the process. Though the NSCN (K) had also signed cease fire agreement for a brief period, no formal talk was held with the outfit.

Sources said that immediately after assuming office as the Prime Minister, Modi took a stand that the talks would have to be �inclusive� and all the stakeholders should be taken on board for permanent solution of the issues. �The Government�s stand is now very clear. The Government is of the view that it would not be possible to find permanent solution to the problems only by talking to one rebel group. The Government wants that all the rebel groups as well as the elected representatives and tribal bodies would have to be taken on board,� sources said.

Sources revealed that a section of leaders of the NSCN (I-M) did not like the idea of engaging the other rebel groups in the process and so far, they have not sat with the other rebel factions together. But the Government is firm that there would be only one accord for solution of the Naga issue and all the rebel groups would have to sign the same accord. The Government is also keen that the leaders of the tribal groups of Nagaland should also sign the accord.

Sources pointed out that after the signing of the framework agreement between the Government of India and NSCN (I-M) in 2015, the other active rebel groups of Nagaland formed an umbrella body called the Naga National Political Groups (NNPG) and started talking with the Government. The NNPG also signed a framework agreement with the Government in November, 2017. Most of the Indian origin members of the NSCN (K) have also come over ground to join the peace process.

On the progress of talks, sources said that all the issues have been settled with the NNPG and the organization is ready to sign the accord any time. Though most of the substantive issues with the NSCN (I-M) have also been settled, the outfit has raised some other issues like a separate flag and constitution, which are yet to be settled. The Government told the NSCN-(IM) leaders that after a settlement, the people of Nagaland can raise those issues democratically.

Most organizations in Nagaland are of the view that Article 371 (A) should not be diluted and the Government has accepted the demand. The rebel groups gave up the demand for sovereignty after the Government made it clear that it would not be possible for the Government to accept the demand and the solution would have to come under the provisions of the Constitution of India. On the demand for inclusion of territories of other states, the Government made it clear that it would not impose any such decision on the State Governments. �The Centre made it very clear that it would not force such decision on any State,� sources added. Clarifying the Government�s view on shared sovereignty, sources said, �the Constitution of India provides for sharing of sovereign powers between the Centre and the states. Some subjects are in the Central list and some in the state list. The State Governments have the power over the issues in the state list.�

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