National Socialist Council of India (NSCN) leaders belonging to the Thuingaleng Muivah faction reached India after nearly four years on Saturday night, for talks with the Centre on the Naga peace process, which starts Tuesday.
Muivah, currently living in Amsterdam, made it clear on his arrival that the rebel group hasn’t withdrawn its demand of sovereignty for Nagaland and blamed the Centre for the delay in finding a solution to the six-decade-old problem.
“It is a pretty long time that we’ve been talking to the government of India and it is high time the government take the matter seriously. In more than 10 years, they couldn’t solve the problem so they are responsible for that,” the NSCN-IM general secretary said on Sunday.
“No, sovereignty can’t be withdrawn because sovereignty is with the people. It is the people who should decide.”
The rebel leader said he had come for peace talks on the invitation of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, and he thought that Singh was serious in
solving the problem.
How optimistic is he?
“We’ve been told the government has arranged some counter-proposals. I don’t know how far that is practicable or acceptable to us,” Muivah said.
Union Home Secretary G.K. Pillai said demands like sovereignty or integration of Naga-inhabited areas wasn’t feasible.
The NSCN-IM ceasefire with the Centre in 1997 signalled an end to a five-decade-old insurgency aimed at sovereignty for Naga-inhabited areas.