Naga Peace Accord still in the works, likely to be signed after elections | india news | Hindustan Times
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Naga Peace Accord still in the works, likely to be signed after elections

The Centre and the National Socialist Council of Nagaland (NSCN) had on August 3, 2015, signed an agreement to end insurgency.

india Updated: Jan 18, 2018 22:41 IST
Kumar Uttam and Azaan Javaid
Naga tribesmen hold flags to welcome RN Ravi, interlocutor for Naga talks, after his arrival at Dimapur in Nagaland.
Naga tribesmen hold flags to welcome RN Ravi, interlocutor for Naga talks, after his arrival at Dimapur in Nagaland.(PTI File Photo)

The Naga peace deal that could end India’s oldest insurgency will have to wait longer to see the light of the day, with the two sides still ironing out contentious points, a senior government functionary said.

The Centre’s interlocutor, RN Ravi, is yet to submit any draft agreement that could lead to the formalisation of the Naga peace accord, said the official.

Union home minister Rajnath Singh said on Thursday that the Centre’s current priority was a “free, fair and peaceful” election in Nagaland.

“Our government is working towards signing the agreement and we are hopeful that the same will be done only after elections,” he said, refraining from giving a specific time frame.

Singh added that it was his personal desire to see a “peaceful Nagaland”.

Nagaland will go to polls on February 27, the Election Commission declared on Thursday.

The Naga Hoho, the apex body of the tribals, had last week sought Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s help to postpone the polls and resolve the insurgency issue first.

The Centre and the National Socialist Council of Nagaland (NSCN) had on August 3, 2015, signed an agreement to end insurgency. It was a year after the government appointed Ravi as the interlocutor for the Naga peace talks in August 2014.

“Ravi is yet to submit a draft agreement (with NSCN) to the Centre,” a government functionary said.

Read | Modi asks northeast people not to believe in ‘tendentious rumours’ on Naga issue

The Centre will then share this agreement with other stakeholders, such as neighbouring Manipur and Arunachal Pradesh, for their objections. New Delhi will also have a look at it and make changes if required. The draft will then be returned to NSCN leaders for agreement and if it gets their approval, a bill will be brought to Parliament.

“If we can prepare a broad outline of the agreement soon, it will be a breakthrough,” the official said.

Given the uncertainty over the timeline when this agreement can be achieved, the political leadership was averse to the idea of postponing assembly polls, said the official familiar with the deliberations in the government.

A pending agreement, they felt, was not a sound reason to halt a democratic process.

The government expects the draft agreement to be ready in a few months, and wants a ‘more stable and favourable’ government to be in control of the situation to handle the fallout of the agreement.