The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Delhi dispels NSCN doubts
- Envoy rules out backing rival groups

New Delhi, Nov. 17: A week ahead of Isak Chisi Swu and Thuingaleng Muivah's proposed visit to India, Delhi tried to blow away the clouds of mistrust hovering over the peace process by assuring the NSCN (I-M) that there was 'no question' of the government propping up other Naga groups.

Muivah, the general secretary of the NSCN (I-M), had recently spoken of his reservations about visiting India in view of Delhi's 'wicked' policy of prompting 'discredited' organisations like the Naga National Council (NNC) and the NSCN (Khaplang) to disturb the peace process.

The government's interlocutor in the peace talks, former Union home secretary K. Padmanabhaiah, promised a thorough probe into the points raised by the NSCN (I-M) leaders and stressed that Delhi was only talking to them.

'It may be possible that one group or the other may have become active and may say or do things to derail the talks now that they have reached a crucial stage, but wisdom would lie in ignoring such extraneous factors and continuing with the peace process as scheduled,' he told The Telegraph.

The NSCN (I-M) leadership is scheduled to arrive in New Delhi in the middle of next week at Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's invitation and immediately hold the first in a series of planned meetings.

Swu and Muivah had visited the capital in January last year after a gap of over three decades to meet the political leadership. Considerable importance is being attached to their second visit as it flows from the realisation that the two sides need to step up the pace of the talks to arrive at a negotiated settlement.

Wary of misunderstandings coming in the way, Padmanabhaiah insisted that there was 'no logic or reason for the government or its agencies to support a small group like the NNC or the NSCN (K)'. He said there could be no reason whatsoever for the government to jeopardise the peace talks.

The interlocutor disclosed that the NSCN (I-M) leadership last week conveyed their concerns to him. 'Mr Muivah's interpretation is that the K group and the NNC are being encouraged and facilitated by some government agencies,' Padmanabhaiah said.

The bureaucrat said he had conveyed to the NSCN (I-M) leadership that 'there is no truth that the government or its agencies are encouraging either of these two groups'.

He said there was nothing substantially new in the approach of either the NNC or the NSCN (K). 'It is well known that there is a bitter rivalry between the NSCN (K) and the NSCN (I-M), and the K group has been making these very comments for the past many years,' he said.

The government, he added, had taken 'serious note' of the concerns expressed by Muivah and would get these investigated. 'If he has any credible information about any linkages of these organisations or about their procurement of weapons, it would help in the investigations.'

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