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Naga talks focus on power sharing

Talks with the National Socialist Council of Nagalim (Isak Muivah) are progressing along the right lines in a very earnest atmosphere, the Centre’s interlocutor R.S. Pandey told Hindustan Times.

delhi Updated: Mar 12, 2010 00:06 IST
Sanjib Kr. Baruah

Talks with the National Socialist Council of Nagalim (Isak Muivah) are progressing along the right lines in a very earnest atmosphere, the Centre’s interlocutor R.S. Pandey told Hindustan Times.

“Both sides (Centre and the Naga leadership) have been very understanding of the problems that are being faced. Recognising that, the talks are proceeding in an atmosphere of sincerity and earnestness, so that an honourable solution that recognizes the uniqueness of the situation is hammered out at the earliest,” Pandey said.

Sources said the negotiations mainly focused on the kind and degree of autonomy that would be acceptable to the Nagas. More specifically, deliberations are on the entries in the three lists that provide for a distribution of central and state powers.

The Indian Constitution provides for a central list, a state list and a concurrent list.

Thuingaleng Muivah is leading the Naga delegation and has already met the Prime Minister and the home minister last week. Since then, the meetings have taken place with Pandey, who is a former Nagaland cadre IAS officer.

Asked whether the government had offered the provision of a separate Constitution for Nagaland along the lines of Jammu and Kashmir and a separate flag, Pandey refused to either affirm or deny as “the matter was very sensitive at this point in time”.

The NSCN-IM has been on a ceasefire mode since 1997. About 60 rounds of parleys have taken place in India and abroad since then. The Naga insurgency movement is more than 60 years old.

This particular round of talks is crucial in the sense that certain concrete proposals are believed to have been made by the government. The Naga leadership is also keen for a negotiated settlement at the earliest as public patience is also believed to be wearing thin.