Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal on Thursday met Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Union Home Minister Amit Shah in New Delhi and discussed the consequences of the Naga peace accord on Assam.
“During the meeting, Sonowal apprised the Prime Minister of the prevailing public mood in Assam in the wake of the proposed Naga peace accord. Prime Minister Modi assured Sonowal that the Centre would keep the interests and aspirations of the people of Assam in mind before taking any decision,” a press statement from the Chief Minister’s Office said.
Another press statement noted that Shah assured Sonowal that “nothing would be done which goes against the interests of the state and its people”.
The meeting came after the NSCN(I-M), in a statement, urged various Naga groups to “get on board the bus of Framework Agreement” and “be a part of the final solution” on the peace talks after the October 31 deadline for talks turned out to be inconclusive. Following the deadlock, it was decided that talks with various stakeholders would continue in this regard.
The influential Naga group on Thursday said, “Taking account of the commitment and assurance of the GoI on the issues of Naga national flag and Constitution to resolving them at the earliest time, the two parties have mutually agreed upon to go for final touch on the agreed competencies for conclusion.”
Talks with the NSCN-IM have been stalled over the issue of a separate flag and constitution for the Nagas.
The Centre had signed a framework agreement with the NSCN(I-M) in August 2015 and then, another agreement with seven Naga armed outfits under the banner of the Naga National Political Groups (NNPGs) in November 2017.
“Now, therefore, when the Government of India is prepared to make the final agreement with the NSCN on the basis of the Framework Agreement, all Nagas should also be equally prepared,” the statement read.
After the meeting on October 31, the Ministry of Home Affairs said, “It has come to the notice of the Government that a lot of rumours and misinformation is being spread in media, including social media, that the final Naga settlement has been arrived at and will be announced soon. This is creating anxiety and concern in some parts of the country. It is clarified that before any settlement is arrived at with the Naga groups, all stakeholders, including the states of Assam, Manipur and Arunachal Pradesh, will be duly consulted and their concerns will be taken into consideration.”
An essential element of the demands by the Naga group has been the territorial integration of the state of Nagaland as well as Naga-dominated areas in the neighbouring states as well as Myanmar.
Although, reportedly, the territorial integration seems to be off the table as of now, there are proposals in the talks of territorial councils in Naga areas of the neighbouring states.
“Now is the time for the Nagas to unite so that together, we move forward to the new era; together we build a land of milk and honey and together we build a people that trust in the Lord,” the I-M statement read.