Meeting between Nagaland Government and Civil Society Groups on the Naga Peace Talks

To urge upon the Naga armed groups including the NSCN (IM) and the NNPG, a crucial meeting between the Nagaland government and civil society groups on the Naga peace talks on Thursday passed a resolution to honour and respect the “Covenant of Reconciliation” and maintain the sanctity of non-violence for a “shared Naga future” as members of “one Naga family”. Nagaland Chief Minister Neiphiu Rio has said that centre is looking forward to “one solution” thus it is imperative that Naga society unites in “one voice”.

“Today’s gathering is not only historic, but it also sends out a clear message to the Government of India and the world that, Nagas want genuine peace and that we continue to strive towards oneness and unity as One Naga Family. I am sure our voice and our desire will be heard across boundaries,” Mr Rio said.

A seven-point resolution was passed by in the meeting called amid setbacks in peace talks between the central government and armed Naga groups.

While the opposition Naga People’s Front (NPF) and the Congress did not join the meeting, the delegates of the top body of Naga tribes, Naga Hoho walked out of the meeting midway dissatisfied with the way it was conducted.

“We have passed a resolution to appeal to the negotiating groups to come together under a spirit of oneness, mutual trust and understanding with sincerity and commitment towards achieving One Solution for One People as early as possible,” BJP spokesperson Mmhonlumo Kikon told reporters after the meeting.

“Over the past years and months, we have been meeting leaders and representatives across all affiliations including representatives of the Government of India. In my last meeting with the Union Home Minister Amit Shah on 19th September, 2020, I was accompanied by my colleague, Deputy Chief Minister Mr Yanthungo Patton. The Government of India have made it clear and further reiterated that there will be only “One Solution” for the Indo-Naga political issue. This message from GoI has been very clear, and one of the reasons for today’s consultative meeting is this message,” Neiphiu Rio said.

NSCN (IM), the biggest Naga armed group involved in the peace talks with the central government for 22 years, has indicated that there is still a deadlock over the contentious issues of a separate flag and constitution.

“What is there for the Naga people to gain out of the Naga deal if we are to lose our political identity that is identified by flag and constitution? This is the question that is now playing into the conscience of the Naga people at large,” said the NSCN(IM) last week.

The peace talks with NSCN(IM) have been stuck in limbo from early this year, whereas the NNPG, the joint platform of the other smaller Naga armed groups have agreed to go forward with a final deal with the centre.

The NSCN-IM has sought replacement of Governor RN Ravi who is also the interlocutor in the peace talks.

The centre had ruled out a separate flag and constitution earlier. For the past two months, there has been a series of informal talks between Intelligence Bureau officials and NSCN-IM leaders.