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Naga civil society playing key role in peace process

By R Dutta Choudhury
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NEW DELHI, July 16 - The civil society of Nagaland is playing a key role in carrying forward the peace process and the Government of India is hoping that a settlement with the rebel groups of the state would be reached soon with active support of the civil society organizations. However, no deadline has yet been fixed on the signing of a formal accord for a solution acceptable to all the stakeholders.

Highly placed sources in the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) told The Assam Tribune here that the suspended talks with the Naga National Political Groups (NNPG) resumed mainly because of the pressure from the civil society of Nagaland. The NNPG, a coordination committee of six Naga rebel groups, started talking with the Government of India last year but at a time when the talks were progressing well, a raid in the residence of one of the leaders of the coordination committee posed serious hurdles in the way of talks.

Assam Rifles personnel carried out a raid in the residence of one of the leaders of the NNPG on the night of June 2 last, following which, the NNPG, on June 4, announced its decision to suspend the process of talks with the Government. However, MHA sources revealed that the talks have resumed after the civil society of Nagaland intervened and put pressure on the coordination committee of militant outfits. �The talks have again gathered momentum and the leaders of the NNPG are talking at least twice a week with the Centre�s interlocutor for Naga talks RN Ravi. As per our information, the civil society groups had put pressure on the leaders of the NNPG not to suspend the talks in the greater interest of Naga people and the role of the civil society must be appreciated in the interest of an amicable political solution,� sources added.

Though sources admitted that the talks were progressing satisfactorily, they disclosed that some minor issues need to be settled before arriving at a final solution and it is too early to announce a date for the signing of agreement with all the Naga rebel groups. The Government of India is keen on an �inclusive solution� taking into consideration the views of all the stakeholders and though the NSCN (I-M) and the NNPG are talking separately with the Government till now, finally there would be only one accord. There is no justification in signing separate agreements as the issues are almost the same and the Government is keen on finding a solution to the Naga political issues which is acceptable to all the stakeholders, sources added.

Commenting on a recent statement by the NSCN (I-M) reiterating its demand for integration of the Naga inhabited areas, sources said, �in a democratic country anyone has the right to raise a demand within the framework of the Constitution of India. But the Government has already made it clear that it would not fiddle with the territorial integrity of any state of the region. Moreover, there is a huge Naga population in Myanmar, which is a sovereign country and India cannot intrude into its territory.�

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Naga civil society playing key role in peace process

NEW DELHI, July 16 - The civil society of Nagaland is playing a key role in carrying forward the peace process and the Government of India is hoping that a settlement with the rebel groups of the state would be reached soon with active support of the civil society organizations. However, no deadline has yet been fixed on the signing of a formal accord for a solution acceptable to all the stakeholders.

Highly placed sources in the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) told The Assam Tribune here that the suspended talks with the Naga National Political Groups (NNPG) resumed mainly because of the pressure from the civil society of Nagaland. The NNPG, a coordination committee of six Naga rebel groups, started talking with the Government of India last year but at a time when the talks were progressing well, a raid in the residence of one of the leaders of the coordination committee posed serious hurdles in the way of talks.

Assam Rifles personnel carried out a raid in the residence of one of the leaders of the NNPG on the night of June 2 last, following which, the NNPG, on June 4, announced its decision to suspend the process of talks with the Government. However, MHA sources revealed that the talks have resumed after the civil society of Nagaland intervened and put pressure on the coordination committee of militant outfits. �The talks have again gathered momentum and the leaders of the NNPG are talking at least twice a week with the Centre�s interlocutor for Naga talks RN Ravi. As per our information, the civil society groups had put pressure on the leaders of the NNPG not to suspend the talks in the greater interest of Naga people and the role of the civil society must be appreciated in the interest of an amicable political solution,� sources added.

Though sources admitted that the talks were progressing satisfactorily, they disclosed that some minor issues need to be settled before arriving at a final solution and it is too early to announce a date for the signing of agreement with all the Naga rebel groups. The Government of India is keen on an �inclusive solution� taking into consideration the views of all the stakeholders and though the NSCN (I-M) and the NNPG are talking separately with the Government till now, finally there would be only one accord. There is no justification in signing separate agreements as the issues are almost the same and the Government is keen on finding a solution to the Naga political issues which is acceptable to all the stakeholders, sources added.

Commenting on a recent statement by the NSCN (I-M) reiterating its demand for integration of the Naga inhabited areas, sources said, �in a democratic country anyone has the right to raise a demand within the framework of the Constitution of India. But the Government has already made it clear that it would not fiddle with the territorial integrity of any state of the region. Moreover, there is a huge Naga population in Myanmar, which is a sovereign country and India cannot intrude into its territory.�