Sinlung /
07 October 2020

India finalises draft of Naga peace pact

By R Dutta Choudhury

Oct 7
- The Government of India has finalised the draft of the agreement to be signed with militant groups and civil society organisations of Nagaland, but the date for signing it is yet to be finalised. The government has also made it clear that it is up to the leaders of the National Socialist Council of Nagalim (I-M) to decide whether they would sign the agreement or not.

 Highly placed sources in the Government of India told The Assam Tribune that there would be no more talks with any group of Nagaland and the draft of the agreement is ready.

“The date for signing of the agreement is likely to be decided shortly. The talk process is over and there may be some delay in signing of the agreement because of the ensuing Bihar elections. However, the Centre is keen on signing the agreement as soon as possible,” the sources added.

The sources pointed out that the agreement would be the first of its kind as efforts were made to include all stakeholders in the process. The government had earlier signed a number of agreements with militant groups in different parts of the country. But this time, in addition to the militants, civil society groups including the Naga Gaonbura Federation and the Hohos of all the 14 tribes of Nagaland would sign the agreement to make it inclusive.

The sources revealed that the Naga National Political Groups (NNPG), an umbrella organisation of seven militant groups of Nagaland and civil society groups have already approved the draft agreement. “The decisions taken in the meetings have been incorporated in the agreement, which include creation of two autonomous councils, one each on Manipur and Arunachal Pradesh,” the sources added.

On reports that the NSCN (I-M) is still not ready to sign the agreement with the government if their demands for a separate flag and constitution are not accepted, the sources said that it is up to the leaders of the outfit to decide whether they would sign the agreement or not.

But the government has made it clear that it would not be possible to accept the demands for a separate flag and constitution.

Leaders of the NSCN (I-M) who are in New Delhi had several rounds of talks with senior officers of the Intelligence Bureau (IB). The IB officials also tried to persuade the leaders of the outfit to give up the demand for a separate flag and constitution. But the leaders maintained a rigid stand and the IB officials have stopped talking to them.

On surrender of weapons, the sources said that in any such surrender, the militants normally do not hand over all their weapons. The government will have to take administrative measures to recover weapons after signing of the accord, the sources added.

There is also a possibility of fresh elections in Nagaland after signing of the accord. It is a normal practice to go for fresh elections in any state after signing of such peace accords as those who sign the accord should be given an opportunity to join the political system, the sources added.

Source: Assam Tribune


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