Updated: September 9, 2021 9:25:46 am
The Centre on Wednesday signed a ceasefire agreement with the Niki Sumi faction of National Security Council of Nagaland (NSCN) Khaplang (K). The agreement will be in effect for one year beginning September 8.
“The Government of India has entered into a Ceasefire Agreement with National Socialist Council of Nagaland (K)Niki Group, with effect from 8 September, 2021 for a period of one year and more than 200 cadres of this group along with 83 weapons joined the peace process,” the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) said in a statement.
Sources said the agreement was signed between Additional Secretary (Northeast) in MHA, Piyush Goyal, and NSCN (K) Niki representatives Nikato Pilot Sumi, supervisor of the Ceasefire Supervisory Board (CFSB), and Abel Zingru Thuer, a CFSB member.
Niki Sumi, who had in December last year expressed willingness to sign a ceasefire agreement, could not be present for the signing due to ill health, sources said.
NSCN (K) had unilaterally abrogated ceasefire with the Centre in March 2015, months before the government signed a Framework Agreement for Naga Peace Accord with the NSCN-IM group. The government has since signed ceasefire agreements with NSCN (NK), NSCN (R) and NSCN (K)-Khango.
Sumi is a wanted accused with a reward of Rs 10 lakh on his arrest by the National Investigation Agency in the case of killing of 18 soldiers in Chandel district of Manipur in June 2015. The NIA had then announced Rs 7 lakh reward on then NSCN (K) chief S S Khaplang. Following this, the government had banned NSCN-K under the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act.
Following Khaplang’s death in 2017, Sumi, who was the group’s military commander, was expelled from the outfit and its camp in Myanmar in 2019. He later floated his own group — NSCN (K) Niki.
Intelligence agencies have since been trying to get him to the negotiating table. The current agreement, sources said, is a step in the direction of engaging him in talks over the Naga Peace Accord. Despite signing of the framework agreement in 2015, the government has not been able to finalise the Accord.
Sources said the terror cases against Sumi would be looked at sympathetically given the present circumstances.
While the Niki group is in favour of engaging in talks as separate entity “to realise the aspirations of Naga people”, sources said it may be asked to join the Naga National Political Groups (NNPGs) for talks on Naga Peace Accord along with NSCN IM.
Khaplang had floated his own outfit in 1988.
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