Updated: August 10, 2015 1:01:41 pm
Nagaland Chief Minister T R Zeliang on Sunday said that the “historic” Naga peace pact is only a “formula” for the final accord.
A day after he met Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh, Zeliang told reporters that the formula would not affect non-Nagas, and he would speak to other chief ministers of the region to allay their apprehensions about the implications of the pact.
“The pact signed by the Centre and NSCN(IM) will help bring peace to the Northeast. I will speak to my counterparts in neighbouring states to allay their apprehensions over the agreement… Solving the Naga problem is solving the problems of the Northeast. Non-Nagas in the Northeast should not have any negative thinking about the pact,” he said.
The chief ministers of Assam, Manipur and Arunachal Pradesh have said that they would not cede an inch of their land and that they were not consulted by the Modi government before the pact was signed.
He stressed that the agreement was crucial for peace in the region and said he was even ready to step down to make a new beginning.
“I along with all members of the Nagaland Assembly are ready to step down if an acceptable and honourable solution is found to the Naga people in order to make a new beginning,” said Zeliang, whose Naga People’s Front, is an NDA ally.
He said he was confident that other rebels groups would also come on board now that the agreement has been signed.
According to him, a 16-member Naga delegation will visit Myanmar to meet S S Khaplang, the chief of the other Naga rebel group NSCN(K). The NSCN(K) had abrogated a ceasefire agreement and allegedly attacked an army convoy, killing 18 soldiers in Manipur in June.
Highlighting the key aspects of the “formula”, Zeliang said the Naga customary system and land holding system will be respected by the Centre based on the “unique history of Nagas”, and it will be applied across the Naga-inhabited areas of the Northeast, including Assam, Manipur and Arunachal Pradesh.
“This Naga issue does not pertain to only Nagaland.The Naga problem covers the entire Naga contiguous region. So, respecting the traditional land holding system, customary system, it covers the entire Naga (community) wherever they are,” he said.
“Whether in Assam, or Arunachal or Manipur, Naga people are living on their own land and they want some kind of autonomy or more power to strengthen their rights and their customary system. I think non-Nagas should not have any negative thinking about this,” he said. The chief minister said even the Bodo issue has been resolved and that he was very happy when the Mizo accord was signed.
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