GUWAHATI, Aug 4 - The Government of India today made it clear that the agreement signed with the NSCN(IM) was not only an accord with the militant group, but an agreement on the political issues of the Naga people as all the stakeholders were taken on board before signing of the same.
Highly placed sources in the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) told The Assam Tribune today that it was not a preliminary agreement as suggested by certain sections. It was a carefully drafted one after detailed talks not only with the leaders of the NSCN(IM), but also with all sections of Naga people.
Sources said that it was a framework agreement and the Government of India accepted the unique history and culture of the Naga people. The government accepted the fact that the Naga people were equal partners in the nation building process. �The government told the Naga people that they have as much claim and right over India as India has over Nagaland,� sources added.
Sources revealed that as per the agreement, the government could go for devolution of more powers to Nagaland under provisions of Article 371 (A) of the Constitution of India. Moreover, the government will take all possible steps for the cultural integration of Naga people living in any part of the world. However, the details on both the issues remain to be worked out.
MHA sources further pointed out that earlier, the government used to talk only with the NSCN leaders. But immediately after the present government assumed office, it was decided that holding talks with only one group would not bring lasting peace and political solution. That was why, the Centre�s interlocutor RN Ravi, who is also chairman of the Joint Intelligence Committee (JIC), started talking with all the stakeholders including the state government, elected representatives and civil society members to take everyone on board. The accord was signed with the NSCN(IM) because the group was spearheading the movement.
As the civil society groups also extended their support to the agreement, the Government of India is hopeful that implementation of the same would bring lasting peace to Nagaland. The modalities of surrender of arms by the NSCN(IM) will be worked out shortly so that they can be involved in the political process.
On the decision of the NSCN(K) to withdraw from the ceasefire agreement, MHA sources reiterated that the Government of India was keen on having everyone on board in the peace process. During his visits to Nagaland, Ravi had also made public announcements, calling upon all sections of the society to get involved in the peace process. The doors of the government were still open and if the NSCN(K) was willing to return to the mainstream, they were most welcome to do so, sources added.