NSCN(I-M) targets interlocutor RN Ravi over Naga peace talks
Days before the next crucial round of talks on Monday, the Isak Muivah faction of the NSCN, keen to push the talks beyond the October 31 deadline to negotiate its demands, sought to put the blame on Nagaland governor and interlocutor RN Ravi over the “failure” to consult civil society organizations.
“RN Ravi had failed to utterly to consult the apex CSOs (civil society organisations) of the Nagas. Is he really sincere to find an honourable solution,” said a statement by the NSCN (I-M).
The outfit has been demanding a separate flag and constitution for the Nagas—both the demands have been rejected by New Delhi.
Ravi indicated earlier this month, after a meeting with civil society groups, tribal outfits and church bodies in Kohima that the talks won’t continue beyond October 31 and the final agreement could be signed even without NSCN (I-M).
Seven rebel groups other than the NSCN (I-M), under the Working Committee of the NNPGs, are in talks with the Centre separately since 2017 and willing for a final agreement without insisting on a separate flag and constitution.
Meanwhile, several outfits such as the Naga Students Federation, the Naga Hoho (NH), the Naga Mothers’ Association (NMA), the Naga Students Federation (NSF) and the Naga Peoples Movement for Human Rights (NPMHR) were not in attendance at the meeting in Kohima and complained they have been left out of consultations.
The Naga Students Federation, in a memorandum to Prime Minister Narendra Modi earlier this week, while pointing out how they were not invited for consultations stood by the NSCN(I-M) demand for a flag and asked the government to focus on “mutually negotiated solution.”
“You have all pointed out that honourable and acceptable solution means honouring Naga flag and constitution,” the NSCN (I-M) statement on Saturday said referring to the CSOs and called for forgiveness in the spirit of reconciliation and mentioned how “Nagas have had enough of divisive politics”.
Asked if this was a message to the seven NNPGs, a functionary of the NSCN(I-M) involved in the negotiations called the stand of the NNPGs a blunder and said they “should turn towards the correct national line” and not limit the negotiations to Nagaland.
This development comes after as many as 18 NSCN (I-M) functionaries joined the rival NNPGs on Friday favouring early resolution and slammed the Muivah faction’s continued demand for a separate Naga flag and constitution that led to a stalemate in talks with the Centre.
The Centre has been engaged in talks with the NSCN (I-M), the largest of the Naga rebel outfits, since 1997 and a framework agreement was signed with it in August 2015 to pave way for a final agreement.
The Naga insurgency began in the 1950s with sovereignty as a key demand. But over the years, the rebel outfits have given up on that demand seeking shared sovereignty, more autonomy and integration of Naga inhabited areas.