2March: In a fresh bid to solve the vexed Naga issue, NSCN-IM today held the first round of talks with the government’s newly appointed pointsman R S Pandey during which the group submitted a list of 30 demands that includes sovereignty for Nagaland.
The meeting, held at undisclosed location, lasted for about 90 minutes during which a NSCN-IM delegation led by its general secretary Thuingaleng Muivah submitted their 30-point demands, sources said.
The meeting which was seen more as an “informal type”, as pointed out by a delegate at the meeting, was held to know the new interlocutor who had helped Muivah in renewing his expired passport, they said, adding another round will be held tomorrow.
Pandey, while giving a patient hearing to the Naga leaders, conveyed to them that there was no possibility of sovereignty for Nagaland and the talks could be held around granting more autonomy.
The Centre, which held a fresh round of talks with NSCN (I-M) leaders in New Delhi on Tuesday, has offered more autonomy for Nagaland but won’t integrate Naga-inhabited parts of Arunachal to Nagaland.
Government is willing to give more autonomy, perhaps even a flag to the Naga’s under Article 371 (A), reported NDTV.
The Centre has prepared a 29-point counter proposal for the discussions this time, which includes financial sops and greater autonomy. The Naga leaders met prime minister Dr. Manmohan Singh and home minister P Chidambaram in New Delhi.
NSCN (I-M) general secretary, Thuingaleng Muivah during his meet with prime minister Manmohan Singh is understood to have conveyed the seriousness of his outfit to find a lasting solution to the Naga issue.
Muivah later met union home minister P Chidambaram during which the two sides had a comprehensive discussion on finding a lasting solution to the six-decade old vexed issue which includes boundary dispute with neighbouring Manipur and Assam.
“The government hasn’t given us any counter proposal, we have had comprehensive discussion, we will continue with the talks,” Muivah told reporters after the meeting. “If the Centre is serious then we will talk,” he said.
While the Centre said this time there would be no discussion on sovereignty Muivah has said the NSCN (I-M) would not compromise on sovereignty. Besides Chidambaram, others present at the hour-long meeting were Home Secretary G K Pillai and Special Secretary (Internal Security) U K Bansal.
Sources say the government has formalised a peace formula to break the deadlock with Naga rebels who are holding the first round of talks with the government in the New Delhi. Sources say the government is proposing the setting up of a Naga body without territorial jurisdiction but one that would have Constitutional sanction, according to Times Now. This government proposal would be in exchange for the NSCN (I-M) withdrawing its demand for sovereignty. So far, the NSCN (I-M) has been demanding sovereignty for Nagaland.
But, the Naga rebel leader who has been invited for talks to India by the prime minister has made his stand clear more than once that there will be no compromise on the issue of sovereignty.
DIMAPUR, MAR 2 (NPN): Prime minister, Manmohan Singh has reassured the NSCN (I-M) about the sincerity of the government to find an honorable political settlement to the Naga issue which would be acceptable to both the parties at the earliest.
According to NSCN (I-M) chief principal secretary, Samson Jajo, the delegation led by general secretary, Th. Muivah along with speaker ‘Tatar’ Hoho, Qhevihe Chishi Swu and member steering committee, Tongmeth Wangnao on Tuesday met the prime minister, Dr. Manmohan Singh at 11 a.m in New Delhi.
The meeting lasted for 40 minutes.
Later in the afternoon, the NSCN (I-M) delegation met the home minister, P. Chidambaram along with a host of high officials at 1:00 pm.
“It was categorically made known to the Indian Home Minister that Nagas will not accept any imposition on the Nagas but only through negotiated settlement. Any insult to the Nagas will only drive the Nagas further away from the Indians,” Jajo said in a statement. He said the Naga delegation made the stand of the NSCN (I-M) very clear to the home minister, despite the ‘betrayal’ of the government of India one after another in the past more than one decade of political talks. Jajo said Chidambaram expressed keenness and sincerity to settle the issue as early as possible. The meeting with the home minister lasted for more than an hour.
Jajo informed that the formal meeting with the newly appointed interlocutor R.S. Pandey representative of the government of India would begin on March 3. He said both sides have agreed to hold the talks with utmost sincerity for an early negotiated political settlement. “The news media report about Muivah being not happy with the interlocutor is bogus,” he added.