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Naga peace talks on Tuesday

Swu and Muivah

Kohima, Dec. 13: The next round of political talks will be held in New Delhi on Tuesday between representatives of the Centre and the National Socialist Council of Nagalim (Isak-Muivah).

An NSCN (I-M) source today said the Centre and the Naga group had tentatively fixed December 17 for the next round of talks, where top Naga leaders including the chairman of the group Isak Chishi Swu and general secretary Thiungaleng Muivah would discuss the Naga issue.

The two Naga leaders will be assisted by a host of top functionaries of the NSCN (I-M). “This time the talks will be crucial as we are trying to find an acceptable solution to the issue,” a senior leader of the Naga group said. He said the Centre and the NSCN (I-M) had discussed the “pan-Naga” issue in the previous round.

For the past 16 years, the Centre and the NSCN have held over 80 rounds of talks, including those with the Prime Minister.

While the Centre had said the Naga group had dropped their crucial demands like sovereignty and integration of contiguous Naga area, the latter said there was no question of compromise on the two issues. It also said there was no such “charter of demands” but added that any solution to the nearly 70-year-old imbroglio should be based on the “unique history and situation of the Nagas”.

The NSCN (I-M) said the Nagas would never abandon their rights, including the right to determine their own future.

The NSCN (I-M) is also against the Centre’s proposal for the inclusion of other Naga militant groups in the talks. The group quoted former Prime Minister P.V. Narasimha Rao, when Swu and Muivah had met him in Paris, saying, “We will talk only with you because the issue is with you and because the people are with you. You have proved yourselves and we know if we talk with you, an honourable and acceptable solution to both would be worked out”.

When Swu and Muivah reportedly told the Prime Minister that the Centre should initiate talks with other groups, the latter had reportedly said, “Why should I talk with them, the issue is not with them. The people are not with them and they have not proved themselves, they are in my hands”.

The state government has urged the militant groups to reconcile, unite and come together for the talks with the Centre to find an amicable and lasting settlement to the Naga problem.

Chief minister Neiphiu Rio said the desire of the Naga people was to let all Naga factions unite and talk with the Centre. He said if the militants are fighting for the cause of the Naga people, they have to listen to their voice and unite for the talks with the Union government.