Naga peace accord faces first major hitch

  • Sanjib Kr Baruah, Hindustan Times, New Delhi
  • Updated: Aug 06, 2015 00:12 IST

Inked amid considerable publicity in the presence of PM Narendra Modi on Monday, the Naga peace agreement, the details of which remain shrouded in secrecy, has run into its first major hitch since it is being strongly opposed by the National Socialist Council of Nagaland (NSCN-Unification) faction.

“As far as we are concerned, the accord was signed between the Indian government and the NSCN (IM). It has nothing to do with us. It may be good for the southern Nagas though. How will it benefit the Nagas of Nagaland?” Alezo Venuh, envoy to the collective leadership of NSCN (U), asked.

“All the stakeholders should have been consulted before the signing. No one knows what the details of the agreement are,” he added.

Southern Nagas is a term often used to denote Nagas from Manipur, which includes Tangkhuls, Maos and other tribes. Muivah, leader of the NSCN (IM), is a Tanghkul Naga from Manipur’s Ukhrul district.

Asked if the NSCN (IM) leadership contacted them after the signing of the accord, Venuh said: “There is no question of talking to them.” He added that the Indian government had failed to address the real issues of the Nagas which are political in nature.

“The government had signed accords with the Nagas in the past too but they did not yield anything,” he said.

NSCN (U) was formed in 2010 with Khole Konyak as its chief. The split with NSCN (K) happened because Kitovi Zhimomi, general secretary of the NSCN (K), disobeyed SS Khaplang and participated in a reconciliation meeting organised by the Forum for Naga Reconciliation (FNR).

FNR was formed to assist in bringing together all Naga insurgent factions in order to find a lasting solution to the Naga issue.

Monday’s agreement is a framework containing broad points of agreement. According to sources familiar with the development, the real work to find a lasting solution will start now and may take months before a final and detailed document is drafted.

The government has been talking to the NSCN (IM) since 1999. The original list of about 33 demands of the NSCN (IM) included a separate constitution, flag and currency among others.

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