The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Shillong talks venue rejected

Guwahati, Aug. 23: The Brussels-based Naga International Support Centre (NSIC) has ruled out Shillong as a venue for the next round of talks between the NSCN (I-M) leadership and the Centre, saying the Meghalaya capital meant nothing more to the Nagas than the “town where the infamous accord that split Naga society was signed”.

The Centre’s chief interlocutor in the Naga peace talks, K. Padmanabhaiah, had said here recently that Shillong could be the venue for the next round of parleys. But the human rights organisation, which has been espousing the “Naga cause” in the global arena, contradicted his statement.

“Is this the same Padmanabhaiah that represents the government of India or might it be a person that accidentally carries the same name'” it asked.

The NSIC said the former Union home secretary had more often than not contradicted himself on the peace talks and “said things which do not augur well for a lasting solution to the Naga problem”.

After the last round of talks in Amsterdam in July, Padmanabhaiah had said the Centre “recognises the unique history of the Nagas”. He later made an ent irely different remark on the same issue. “India has so many indigenous or unique people,” he said. The rights group said that by signing the Shillong Accord, the Naga National Council (NNC) had “sold out the national stand on sovereignty” and agreed “to accept the Indian Constitution”. It alleged that those who did not acknowledge the accord were “taken prisoners or were executed” by the “federal army” of the NNC. The NSIC said Shillong could be considered a venue for the signing of a pact “after an honourable settlement has been reached to strike out the black chapter of history that was written there”.

NSCN (I-M) general secretary Th. Muivah had recently accused the Centre of pursuing an “over-clever policy” to hoodwink the Nagas. He said the home ministry had convoluted the outfit’s proposal in connivance with Nagaland chief minister S.C. Jamir “to deceive the innocent Naga public for votes in the coming puppet election, undermine the Nationalist Socialist Council of Nagalim and hijack the issue to cause more bloodshed among Nagas”.

Padmanabhaiah, however, dismissed the NSCN (I-M)’s accusations as “preposterous”. Jamir, too, denied having received any communiqué from the Centre on the insurgent outfit’s proposals.

“It is an issue that the Centre and the NSCN (I-M) should address. The onus is on them to decide how to go about the talks. If some proposals were actually submitted to the Centre, the underground organisation should make them public for a debate among the Naga people,” the chief minister said.

Muivah had alleged that the “doctored” proposals were distributed among Jamir’s cabinet colleagues on August 6.

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