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Naga accord first step towards solution: Ravi

By R Dutta Choudhury
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GUWAHATI, Aug 18 - The Government of India has cleared the first step towards solution of the Naga political problem by signing the peace accord with the National Socialist Council of Nagalim (IM), and now the aim is to engage all other groups including those, which are not under ceasefire agreement, in the peace talks to make the solution �inclusive� so that no group is left out.

Talking to The Assam Tribune, the Centre�s interlocutor for Naga talks, RN Ravi said that the leaders of the NSCN (IM) have also accepted the government�s stand about not excluding any group from the peace process so that permanent peace is restored in Nagaland. Ravi, who is also the Chairman of the Joint Intelligence Committee (JIC), revealed that after the signing of the peace accord with the NSCN(IM), the immediate goal would be to bring the other Naga groups including the militant outfits and the civil society into the talks process for a wider consultation to work out the details of issues like power sharing.

Nagaland already has been given more powers under the existing system and �we need to examine what more can be done.� The government will also take care to ensure that no harm is done to other neighbouring communities and states, he asserted. The government interlocutor for Naga talks revealed that for years, the government was holding talks only with the NSCN(IM) and for the first time, before the signing of the accord, the other stakeholders including the Nagaland government, elected representatives in the state, civil society groups etc., were taken into confidence. Now the aim is to bring the groups which are left out, into the process of talks.

Replying to a question on the possibility of bringing the NSCN(K) into the process of talks, Ravi pointed out that the outfit had signed a ceasefire agreement with the Government of India way back in 2001. But the outfit withdrew from the agreement in April this year and formed a common platform of militant groups of the region with three other outfits. But the people of eastern Nagaland, where the outfit has a strong presence, have urged the leaders of the outfit to review the decision. A civil society group of Nagaland is also going to Myanmar to persuade SS Khaplang, chairman of the NSCN(K) to review his decision and join the peace process.

Ravi admitted that for years, some people in the Central government were of the view that it would be difficult to talk with Khaplang as he is a Burmese (Myanmarese) national. But now the situation has changed and the government cannot be indifferent to the trans-border relation of the Naga people. The Government of India cannot talk about the demands of the outfit relating to Myanmar and the outfit has already entered into some kind of an agreement with the government of the neighbouring country. But most of the leaders of NSCN(K) including senior men are Indian nationals and the outfit as a whole has a stake in India. That is why, the government will have to address their stakes in India and �we cannot be indifferent to their issues for a permanent political solution of the Naga problem,� he added.

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Naga accord first step towards solution: Ravi

GUWAHATI, Aug 18 - The Government of India has cleared the first step towards solution of the Naga political problem by signing the peace accord with the National Socialist Council of Nagalim (IM), and now the aim is to engage all other groups including those, which are not under ceasefire agreement, in the peace talks to make the solution �inclusive� so that no group is left out.

Talking to The Assam Tribune, the Centre�s interlocutor for Naga talks, RN Ravi said that the leaders of the NSCN (IM) have also accepted the government�s stand about not excluding any group from the peace process so that permanent peace is restored in Nagaland. Ravi, who is also the Chairman of the Joint Intelligence Committee (JIC), revealed that after the signing of the peace accord with the NSCN(IM), the immediate goal would be to bring the other Naga groups including the militant outfits and the civil society into the talks process for a wider consultation to work out the details of issues like power sharing.

Nagaland already has been given more powers under the existing system and �we need to examine what more can be done.� The government will also take care to ensure that no harm is done to other neighbouring communities and states, he asserted. The government interlocutor for Naga talks revealed that for years, the government was holding talks only with the NSCN(IM) and for the first time, before the signing of the accord, the other stakeholders including the Nagaland government, elected representatives in the state, civil society groups etc., were taken into confidence. Now the aim is to bring the groups which are left out, into the process of talks.

Replying to a question on the possibility of bringing the NSCN(K) into the process of talks, Ravi pointed out that the outfit had signed a ceasefire agreement with the Government of India way back in 2001. But the outfit withdrew from the agreement in April this year and formed a common platform of militant groups of the region with three other outfits. But the people of eastern Nagaland, where the outfit has a strong presence, have urged the leaders of the outfit to review the decision. A civil society group of Nagaland is also going to Myanmar to persuade SS Khaplang, chairman of the NSCN(K) to review his decision and join the peace process.

Ravi admitted that for years, some people in the Central government were of the view that it would be difficult to talk with Khaplang as he is a Burmese (Myanmarese) national. But now the situation has changed and the government cannot be indifferent to the trans-border relation of the Naga people. The Government of India cannot talk about the demands of the outfit relating to Myanmar and the outfit has already entered into some kind of an agreement with the government of the neighbouring country. But most of the leaders of NSCN(K) including senior men are Indian nationals and the outfit as a whole has a stake in India. That is why, the government will have to address their stakes in India and �we cannot be indifferent to their issues for a permanent political solution of the Naga problem,� he added.