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Tuesday, Nov 12, 2019

Current Naga peace deal won’t work for Manipur: Deputy CM Yumnam Joykumar Singh

New Delhi and Naga insurgent groups decided on the contours of a final peace deal after rounds of discussions on October 31. The agreement between New Delhi and Naga insurgent groups is now being drafted, senior officials who did not want to be named said.

india Updated: Nov 09, 2019 01:22 IST
Sudhi Ranjan Sen
Sudhi Ranjan Sen
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
PM Narendra Modi, Union minister Rajnath Singh (third from left) and NSA Ajit Doval (extreme right) with members of NSCN (IM) as Centre and NSCN ink peace accord in 2015.
PM Narendra Modi, Union minister Rajnath Singh (third from left) and NSA Ajit Doval (extreme right) with members of NSCN (IM) as Centre and NSCN ink peace accord in 2015.(PTI file photo)
         

The Naga peace deal in its current form will not be suitable for Manipur, the northeastern states’s deputy chief minister Yumnam Joykumar Singh said on Friday.

New Delhi and Naga insurgent groups decided on the contours of a final peace deal after rounds of discussions on October 31. The agreement between New Delhi and Naga insurgent groups is now being drafted, senior officials who did not want to be named said.

The peace deal with Naga’s will require the concurrence of neighbouring states, especially Manipur where several districts like Ukrul, Senapati, etc are Naga dominated.

Manipur’s views are known to New Delhi he said.

Singh’s view carries weight. In his previous avatar, Singh headed the Manipur police for four years.

“Manipur is different from other northeastern states like Meghalaya, which have homogenous populations. An autonomous council comprising only Naga’s will not work for Manipur,” Singh said.

“The existing autonomous councils have a mixed population of Nagas and Kukis” – an ethnic tribal grouping, he said explaining. Singh, however, said that empowering the existing autonomous council appeared more acceptable.

The autonomous councils is a compromise between the Centre and Naga groups to the demand for integration of all Naga inhabited areas – a demand New Delhi has refused to accept. Therefore, an autonomous council with mixed ethnicity is unlikely to be acceptable to the Naga groups.

With the Naga population spread across several states, the agreement of neighbouring states like Manipur, Assam and Arunachal Pradesh is crucial to the deal going through.

New Delhi is expected to start consultations with the states before finally signing the peace agreement with the Naga groups.

In 2015, New Delhi and the biggest Naga militant group - NSC (IM) - signed a framework for a peace agreement. Subsequently, in 2017, six other Naga militant groups joined the talks after both sides agreed to suspend operations.

Naga militants – who are behind what is often called the world’s oldest insurgency – are demanding a separate homeland, a flag and loose federal structure with the Indian Union, and integration of Naga inhabited areas.