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NSCN claims pact with Centre soon

- Both NSCN factions say Delhi giving finishing touches to agreement

Kohima, June 15: The Centre will soon offer a workable solution for the Naga political problem to the NSCN (I-M) led by Isak Chishi Swu and Thuingaleng Muivah, a member of the rival faction has said.

The S.S. Khaplang-led NSCN (K) quoted a Union home ministry official saying that the Centre has almost finalised the proposal for a solution with the NSCN (I-M).

“Joint secretary Shambhu Singh has told us that a solution with the NSCN (I-M) is in the offing,” Sangso Mongzar, secretary information and publicity of the NSCN (K), said.

The information secretary added that such a solution would not be a Naga solution but an NSCN (I-M) solution. He said the NSCN (K) has informed the Centre that nothing less than sovereignty of Nagaland will be considered a solution. He said the Centre is giving final touches to the proposal.

“If the NSCN (I-M) rejects the Centre’s proposal, it will be a loss for them,” the joint secretary, reportedly, told the NSCN (K) delegation.

Singh told the delegation that a solution with Swu and Muivah would be hammered out within a year and negotiations with other groups would only begin after that, when he was asked about the Centre’s take on the NSCN (K).

The Centre had signed an agreement with the NSCN (I-M) in 1997 that it will neither recognise other outfits nor negotiate with them.

The NSCN (K) signed a bilateral ceasefire with the Centre on April 28, 2001. Currently, Swu and Muivah are camping in New Delhi. There has been pressure from various quarters to resolve the Naga political problem at the earliest. Another delegation comprising kilonsers (ministers) and senior functionaries of the government of the People’s Republic of Nagalim of the NSCN (I-M) left for Delhi last Friday.

A senior NSCN (I-M) leader said they, too, were expecting a solution by this year. “We are expecting to sign an agreement with the Centre by September this year,” he said, adding that the agreement is likely to be tabled in the winter session of Parliament.

“Even the new Prime Minister has agreed to sign an agreement with us,” he added.

Former chief minister and newly elected Lok Sabha MP Neiphiu Rio had recently met several top policymakers and urged them to expedite the 17-year-old Indo-Naga peace process.

Chief minister T.R. Zeliang said his government would continue to press the Centre for a solution.

The ruling Democratic Alliance of Nagaland (DAN) has said it would pave the way for any alternative arrangement with the NSCN (I-M). Over 70 rounds of talks have been held between the Centre and the NSCN (I-M). Integration of contiguous Naga areas has remained a thorny issue as the outfit said without such arrangement there would be no solution.

Naga integration will affect neighbouring states like Manipur, Assam and Arunachal Pradesh. The NSCN (I-M) has already submitted its proposal to the Centre for the solution.

The NSCN (I-M) spokesperson said solution with the Centre would be based on the unique history of the Naga people and according to their situation. It had rejected a Mizoram-type solution with the Centre. The group is demanding a shared sovereignty: a federal relationship between New Delhi and Nagalim (Nagaland).

So far, three agreements (the nine-point agreement in 1948, 16-point agreement of 1960 and 1975 Shillong Accord) have been signed between the Centre and the Naga people but those could not be fully implemented. Non-fulfilment of past pacts has created apprehension in the minds of the Naga people.