22 more NSCN(I-M) leaders desert outfit.
Guwahati: The government of India is reluctant to extend the deadline of October 31 to conclude the ongoing Naga peace talks, which is delayed due to the unresolved demand of the NSCN (I-M) for the inclusion of Naga flag and constitution in the agreement.
Informing that the PM’s envoy for Naga talks Mr R.N. Ravi was determined to meet the deadline set for concluding the peace-talks, security sources, however, admitted that NSCN(I-M) was insisting on extending the deadline but Mr Ravi has turned down the plea.
Pointing out that collective leadership of NSCN(I-M) and NNPGs had another round of talks with Mr Ravi on Tuesday in New Delhi, security sources said that Mr Ravi told the Naga leadership that the time-frame of October 31st stands.
Indicating that the government of India is confident to resolve the differences, security sources said that if the demand of Naga flag and constitution is shorted out, the interlocutor would convene a joint meeting with NSCN(I-M) and NNPGs to work out the modalities before signing the final agreement. Security sources also hinted that the ministry of home affairs is confident to take all the groups including NSCN(I-M) on board in signing the peace accord.
A section of civil society groups questioned the stand of NNPGs for giving up the demand of flag and constitution, the group (NNPGs) has clarified that they have not given up yet and these issues would be pursued through a democratic political process, post solution.
It is significant that Mr Ravi had a public consultative meeting with14 Naga Tribes of Nagaland, all minority non-Nagas, Nagaland GB Federation, Church and other civil society organizations on October 18 in Kohima.
Mr Ravi had also stated that a mutually agreed draft comprehensive the settlement, including all the substantive issues and competencies, was ready for inking the final agreement. However, in the same statement the interlocutor also lamented that at such auspicious juncture, the NSCN(I-M) has adopted a “procrastinating attitude to delay the settlement raising the contentious symbolic issues of separate Naga flag and constitution”.
In a significant development, at least 22 more NSCN(I-M) leaders have left the organisation to join the NNPGs on Tuesday. This has come close on the heels of 16 NSCN(I-M) leaders including former ‘kilo kilonser’ (home minister) and current member of negotiating team of the Naga insurgent group NSCN-IM with the Centre, Hukavi Yepthomi, leaving the group to join the working committee of the NNPG on Thursday.
The decision of the senior member of the NSCN-IM negotiation team to leave the organisation and join the NNPG, an umbrella organisation of seven insurgent groups, assumes significance as the ongoing Naga talks have been inconclusive despite several rounds of meetings held in New Delhi and speculations are rife about Centre sticking to the given timeframe to sign the agreement.