The Telegraph
Wednesday , January 11 , 2017

Fresh impetus to Naga talks

R.N. Ravi

Imphal, Jan. 10: The Centre's interlocutor, R.N. Ravi, today invited three citizens' organisations of Manipur for further consultations to finalise an agreement with the NSCN (I-M) in the ongoing Naga peace talks. The issue of the ongoing economic blockade is expected to figure prominently in the meeting.

Ravi, who is also the chairman of Joint Intelligence Committee of National Security Council, invited the United Committee Manipur (UCM), All Manipur United Clubs Organisation (Amuco) and Committee of Civil Societies Kangleipak (CCSK) to participate in the consultations proposed to be held on January 20 at the conference hall of the National Security Council secretariat.

It is not clear whether other citizens' organisations from Nagaland will take part in the process.

The invitation read: "It is proposed to hold the next round of consultation meeting with civil society organisations. You are requested to participate." Identical letters were sent to the three organisations.

This will be the third round of consultations by Ravi with these three organisations in his effort to bring an amicable solution to the NSCN (I-M) talks, acceptable to all stakeholders.

Ravi first held consultations with citizens' organisations of Manipur in Imphal on September 9, 2015, and again on November 11 the same year.

During the two consultations, Ravi reiterated that he wanted to know the views of all sections of the people on the peace process before making a final settlement with the NSCN (I-M).

Finding a solution acceptable to all is a very tricky task for the Centre as Manipur is strongly opposing the NSCN (I-M)'s demand for integration of contiguous Naga-inhabited areas under one administrative unit. Manipur has considerable Naga-inhabited areas.

"We will reaffirm the six-point charter of demands placed before Ravi during the earlier two rounds of talks. We will stick to our stand," Ph. Deban, president of Amuco, told The Telegraph.

The three organisations' stand is that any cultural and administrative arrangement on the basis of ethnicity is unacceptable. They further demanded that a white paper on the talks between the Centre and Naga militant group be published and details of the framework agreement announced, among others.

The organisations had also urged Ravi to respect the distinctive historical identity and political status of Manipur.

Deban said they would raise the issue of the economic blockade imposed by the United Naga Council (UNC) during the next round of talks.

He said before meeting Ravi, the Joint Forum for Peace, a conglomerate of citizens' organisations and leaders of all communities, will meet the Prime Minister and home minister on the blockade issue.

The forum was formed to defuse mounting tension among communities, which was triggered by burning of more than 20 vehicles in Imphal East last month.

The UNC has imposed the blockade since November 1 against bifurcation of Naga-inhabited areas during creation of seven new districts in Manipur.

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