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Friday, September 25, 2020

Naga peace talks: Governor Ravi not in latest round, NSCN-IM says informal talks making ‘progress’

Officials of the Intelligence Bureau have been engaging with the NSCN-IM after relations between R N Ravi, the Centre's interlocutor for the peace talks and also the Nagaland Governor, and leaders of NSCN-IM soured last year and the talks ended in a stalemate.

Written by Esha Roy | New Delhi | August 25, 2020 1:31:33 am
As Centre meets Naga groups, NSCN back to demand for Greater NagalimNagaland Governor and interlocutor R N Ravi. (File)

Some “progress” is being made in coming to an understanding between the government and NSCN-IM in the latest round of informal Naga peace talks, sources in the militant outfit said.

These, however, are informal talks, and official deliberations – with the government – will follow after this round.

Officials of the Intelligence Bureau have been engaging with the NSCN-IM after relations between R N Ravi, the Centre’s interlocutor for the peace talks and also the Nagaland Governor, and leaders of NSCN-IM soured last year and the talks ended in a stalemate.

The latest round of informal deliberations began earlier this month, and are still on.

IB sources had earlier confirmed to The Indian Express that Ravi had come to Delhi but left for Nagaland soon after without having met the NSCN-IM members.

Sources in NSCN-IM now say the ongoing meetings are progressing fast and the two parties are giving a “retouch to the competencies’’ of the agreement.

A source in NSCN-IM said: “After the process of informal talks are over, decisions will be taken at the political level in formal talks with the government. There is no set time-frame for the resolution this time, but both parties are keen on settling the issue, and are looking at an agreement/solution at the earliest.”

The NSCN-IM had hardened its stance against Ravi over the last few months, and on August 14, celebrated by the IM as Naga independence day, the group’s chief, Th Muivah, had for the first time issued a statement since the talks fell through last year. He stated that the Naga flag and constitution were non-negotiable and that the agreement included the idea of unification of all Naga people, living in areas across Assam, Arunachal Pradesh and Manipur as well.

Sources in IB had said that this stance of the NSCN-IM has the potential to derail the peace process, as the Centre has earlier made it clear that a separate constitution was not acceptable and Assam, Arunachal and Manipur will not be divided.

But progress has been made since Muivah’s statement was issued, sources said. Details of the discussions remain confidential, they maintained.

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