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NSCN-IM members briefed

- Khaplang says he will not get in the way of Swu and Muivah

Kohima, Oct. 25: The NSCN (I-M) today convened a general meeting at its headquarters near Dimapur where its members were briefed on the progress of talks with the Centre.

Chairman of the group, Isak Chishi Swu and general secretary Thiungaleng Muivah briefed the members about the progress of the negotiations with the Centre.

“Our leaders briefed us about the ongoing peace process,” said a senior member who attended the meeting. However, he declined to disclose any details about the meeting. The meeting was attended by thousands of NSCN (I-M) members from all over Nagaland.

Swu and Muivah have been negotiating with the Centre for more than 15 years. But according to sources, the two Naga leaders are in a hurry to ink the agreement by this year.

“We are trying to sign an agreement by this year,” an NSCN (I-M) functionary said. He said Swu and Muivah would also meet various Naga groups before leaving for New Delhi for further consultations. Former Nagaland chief secretary R.S. Pandey is currently the Centre’s interlocutor.

During their stay at the council headquarters, Camp Hebron, they two leaders will meet Naga organisations led by Naga Hoho.

NSCN (I-M) sources said the two entities have agreed on a “Pan-Naga Hoho (Parliament)”, which will administer Naga-inhabited areas of Nagaland, Manipur, Assam and Arunachal Pradesh, leaving out Myanmar.

Asked whether the NSCN (I-M) had dropped its demand for the integration of contiguous Naga areas, a senior NSCN functionary said the pan-Naga Hoho would administer the Naga-inhabited areas and the Centre was in consultation with Manipur and Assam. Arunachal Pradesh has already agreed to a pan-Naga Hoho for Nagas, he claimed.

He said the NSCN (I-M) was sincere about hammering out an honourable and acceptable solution to the people before the NSCN (I-M) cabinet reshuffle, slated for January next year.

The agreement would have a separate flag for Nagaland (Nagalim), common currency, and a joint defence force. Foreign affairs will be with the Centre. Sources said an over 15,000-strong Naga army (NSCN) will guard the borders of Nagalim but so far the group has refused to decommission its cadres.

In the meantime, NSCN (K) chairman S.S. Khaplang said he would not be a stumbling block between the Centre and the rival NSCN (I-M). In a letter to the Forum for Naga Reconciliation (FNR), which is currently brokering peace and reconciliation amongst Naga rebel groups, he said he would not stand in the way of Swu and Muivah’s agreement with the Centre, provided they do not become a stumbling block for him.

Khaplang said his fight with Swu and Muivah was because of differences in political ideology and not because of any personal enmity. He said Swu and Muivah had been sending emissaries to him inside Myanmar since 2009.