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Cong raps Centre on passport, flag to NSCN(I-M)

By Spl correspondent

NEW DELHI, July 9 - A major confrontation is on the cards between the government and the Congress, with the latter on Saturday opposing the government�s reported bid to give a separate passport and flag to Naga rebel outfit NSCN(I-M) as part of the draft peace agreement.

Addressing a press conference today, AICC media in-charge Randeep Singh Surjewala, who was also joined by AICC general secretary in charge of the North East CP Joshi, former Arunachal Pradesh Chief Minister Nabam Tuki and former Union Minister Vincent Pala, said: �India�s sovereignty and integrity has been an article of faith for the Indian National Congress. We have steadfastly fought against and sacrificed for upholding India�s territorial integrity and finding lasting peaceful solutions within our constitutional framework. Peace, prosperity and social harmony in the north-eastern States have always been an indelible conviction for the Congress party.�

He recalled that the Congress not only tackled insurgency and Naxalism strongly, but also engaged with various insurgent outfits with a sense of responsibility to bring them back into the national mainstream by building a national consensus for lasting solutions.

The All India Congress Committee, therefore, has six questions for the NDA government at the Centre and the Congress urges it to answer them for the people of India in general and the North East in particular.

The Congress sought to know whether the Narendra Modi government has entered into an agreement with NSCN(I-M) �compromising the territorial integrity� of the country, whether it has promised a �separate flag� for the Nagas other than the Indian National Tricolour in the agreement, and whether the government has entered into an agreement for a �separate passport� for the Nagas other than an Indian passport.

The Congress also wanted to know whether the government has agreed on a �shared sovereignty� for the Nagas as stated by NSCN(I-M). The party also sought details of the �framework agreement� entered into between the Prime Minister and NSCN(I-M) general secretary Th Muivah.

�Will the Prime Minister place the agreement before Parliament and the people of India? Has the government taken or will take into confidence the elected governments of Nagaland, Assam, Arunachal Pradesh and Manipur, before entering into an agreement for alteration of territories of these States?� Surjewala said.

He alleged that on August 3 last, the government had announced the signing of a draft peace accord with NSCN(I-M) without taking into confidence the elected governments of Assam, Arunachal, Manipur and even Nagaland. It later turned out that there was no regular peace accord, but a framework agreement was entered into and was kept un der wraps, without sharing its details either with the Union Cabinet, Parliament or the people of India, Surjewala charged.

While the Congress fully supports finding a lasting and peaceful solution to the Naga problem through dialogue, it has to be compulsorily within the four corners of the constitutional framework, without a whisper of compromise on India�s sovereignty and territorial integrity. No one, however mighty, has the right to do otherwise. The people of India will never accept a compromise on this cardinal principle of India�s unquestionable sovereignty and integrity, he asserted.

In an interview to a national daily a couple of days back, Muivah was quoted as having boasted that a separate flag and passport for Nagas were not just a demand, but a right, as the Nagas had never been under Indian rule.

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