The Centre on Friday said it was determined to conclude the ongoing Naga peace process without delay and asserted that endless negotiation under the shadow of guns was not acceptable. In a statement, the government's interlocutor for Naga talks and Governor of Nagaland R N Ravi said a mutually agreed draft comprehensive settlement, incorporating all substantive issues and competencies, is ready for inking the final agreement.
"Unfortunately at this auspicious juncture, the NSCN-IM has adopted a procrastinating attitude to delay the settlement raising the contentious symbolic issues of separate Naga national flag and constitution on which they are fully aware of the Government of India's position," the statement said. A framework agreement was signed on August 3, 2015 by NSCN-IM general secretary Thuingaleng Muivah and Ravi in the presence of Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
The framework agreement came after over 80 rounds of negotiations spanning 18 years, with the first breakthrough made in 1997 when the ceasefire agreement was sealed after decades of insurgency in Nagaland which started soon after India's Independence in 1947. Ravi said in the statement that the National Socialist Council of Nagaland (NSCN)-IM has "mischievously" dragged the framework agreement into the negotiation and began imputing imaginary contents to it.
Some NSCN-IM leaders through various media platforms are misleading the people with absurd assumptions and presumptions over what they have already agreed with the Government of India. In view of such unfortunate attitude of some NSCN-IM leaders, the government of India's representative and Interlocutor for Naga peace talks held a detailed consultation meeting with the primary stakeholders of the Naga society on October 18 in Kohima.
The meeting was attended by the apex leadership of all the 14 Naga tribes of Nagaland, all the minority non-Naga tribes of Nagaland, the Nagaland Gaon Burha Federation, the Nagaland Tribes Council, church leaders and civil society organisations. The framework agreement with the (NSCN-IM) and the agreed position with the working committee of Naga National Political Groups were extensively shared with the leaders, pertinent issues discussed and doubts on competencies clarified.
Political maturity and wisdom of the Naga leaders who expressed their overwhelming support in favour of a settlement without any further delay is deeply appreciated, the statement said. "Respecting the Naga people's wishes, the government of India is determined to conclude the peace process without delay. Endless negotiation under the shadow of guns is not acceptable," it said. The government expects all negotiating parties to heed the will of the people, and facilitate conclusion of the Naga peace process within the stipulated time, it said. Interlocutor Ravi said in the statement that the government of India, under the dynamic and decisive leadership of Prime Minister Modi, has been determined and diligent to honourably conclude the Naga peace process, which has been going on for the last over 22 years.
"As a result, the Naga peace process, in the last five years, has become truly inclusive and reached the conclusion stage," he added. "All Naga armed groups are engaged with the government of India's interlocutor and have worked out the draft final settlement," Ravi said. Primary stakeholders - tribal and civil society organisations from Nagaland, Manipur, Arunachal Pradesh and Assam were involved in the peace process and made valuable contributions through regular consultations and insightful inputs, the statement said. The Church leaders with their constant prayers and goodwill have immensely contributed to the cause of enduring peace, it added.
It is a matter of great satisfaction that agreements with NSCN-IM on August 3, 2015 and with seven Naga armed groups under the banner of Working Committee (WC) of Naga National Political Groups (NNPGs) on November 17, 2017 on the political parameters of the settlement were signed, the statement said.