Ignoring the National Socialist Council of Nagaland (Isak-Muivah)’s defiant posturing and demands, the Government of India has decided to go ahead with its plan to sign a peace accord with all the other armed rebel groups and civil society organisations of Nagaland soon.
Security sources admitted that a section of NSCN (I-M) led by its secretary general Th. Muivah has not given their final consent for signing the peace accord, but asserted that the ball is now in the NSCN(I-M)’s court to take call on signing the peace accord as all the other stakeholders have approved the “final draft agreement” aimed at bringing an end to decades-old insurgency in Nagaland.
Disclosing that negotiation between Naga rebel groups on all issues have concluded, sources in the ministry of home affairs told this newspaper that a consensus has been created for signing of the peace accord and a draft agreement has been finalised.
The Prime Minister’s envoy for Naga talks and Governor of Nagaland R.N. Ravi is in New Delhi to finalise the draft-agreement, security sources said that talks between the NSCN(I-M) leadership led by its general secretary Th Muivah and Intelligence Bureau (IB) officers concluded about 10 days back.
Pointing out that for the last 10 days no meeting was held between NSCN(I-M) and IB officers, security sources said that a section of Naga rebel leaders have been trying to create confusion that the talks are still going on.
Asserting that the demand for a separate flag and constitution for Nagaland has been rejected once again in the negation with IB officers, security sources admitted said NSCN(I-M) has been trying to buy time by raising some rhetorical issues, but Government of India has made it clear that they can’t prolong peace talks any more as consensus has already been created on all the Naga political issues.
Security sources said that this would be the first time that civil society groups would also be signatory to a peace accord signed with armed rebel groups.
NNPGs, a group of seven Naga insurgents, 14 Naga tribal Hohos and Nagaland Gaon Burah (GB) Federation would also be signatory to the peace accord.
Security sources said that a section of leaders in the NSCN(I-M) may be isolated in Nagaland if they continue to defy the mood of civil society groups which is mounting pressure for an early solution to Naga political issues.
Apart from rehabilitation of armed cadres after surrender of arms, the final draft agreement also proposes two autonomous councils —one each in Manipur and Arunachal Pradesh -- besides the mechanism of transfer of power by holding general elections in the state. The number of Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha seats would also be increased to facilitate more representation to Nagas at the Centre.
In 1975, the Centre signed the Shillong Agreement with a moderate faction of the political organisation, Naga National Council (NNC), that had been formed in 1946. After a short spell of peace for two years, the dissident group led by Th. Muivah, Isak Chisi Swu and Shangnyu Shangwang Khaplang rejected the pact outright, and went underground again, spending much of their time in Myanmar. They formed the NSCN in January 1980, and eight years later, in April 1988, it split into the NSCN(I-M) and the NSCN (K) over differences in initiating a dialogue process with the Indian government.
The NSCN(I-M) has been unofficially in talks with the government since 1994, while formal talks with the Centre began only in 1997 when a ceasefire agreement was signed. In August 2015, the government signed a Framework Agreement to seek a final solution with the NSCN(I-M). The NSCN(K) violated the ceasefire in 2015, but three breakaway factions formed a new group and entered the dialogue again. The purview of the Naga peace-talk was extended with NNPGs, a group of seven insurgents group signing a “Deed of Commitment” with the Centre.