'Delay in finalising Naga Accord could harm progress'

'Delay in finalising Naga Accord could harm progress'

The Parliamentary Standing Committee on Home Affairs led by former Home Minister P Chidambaram also wondered "why there is a delay in concluding the peace talks when all other stakeholders other than the government appear to be eager to conclude it".  (PTI File Photo)

Delay in concluding talks on the Naga Accord is making the Naga groups "restless", a parliamentary standing committee warned the government on Thursday as it said that it could "harm whatever progress" achieved so far in this direction.

The Parliamentary Standing Committee on Home Affairs led by former Home Minister P Chidambaram also wondered "why there is a delay in concluding the peace talks when all other stakeholders other than the government appear to be eager to conclude it". 

The remarks of the came after Naga Interlocutor R N Ravi informed the panel that Article 371A, which guarantees special constitutional status to Nagaland, could also be extended to Naga-inhabited areas in neighbouring Manipur, Assam and Arunachal Pradesh.

Ravi told the panel led by former home minister P Chidambaram that contours of the agreement had not been spelt out in the framework agreement signed between the Centre and NSCN(IM) in 2015.

He also told the committee that the framework agreement was "just about" the recognition of the uniqueness of Naga history by the Centre and an understanding on that "inclusive settlement will be within the Indian federation with due to regards to the uniqueness of Naga history".

"However, the interlocutor stated that it was implied in the agreement that some special arrangement will have to be made for the Nagas," the report tabled in Parliament said.

Specifically asked what this special arrangement could be, Ravi said that Article 371-A of Constitution accords special status to Nagaland and a "similar kind of status, with some local variation, and some change to the Nagas in the neighbouring states can be explored".

While acknowledging the "positive outcomes", the committee warned Naga groups have are "becoming restless" due to the delay in concluding talks and it was evident when the Naga Tribal Hohos and civil society organisations called for abstaining from Nagaland Assembly elections in February.

"This is indicative of the growing unrest among Naga Hohos...The committee apprehends that any further delay may harm the progress achieved during the last few years," the panel said, adding the government should tread carefully on the issues sensitive to the Nagas and "not let vested interests hijack the peace narrative".

It also advised the government to keep in mind the historical dynamics of insurgency and reminded that the most important aspect of any agreement with insurgents is the adequate rehabilitation and settlement programme for the cadres of insurgent outfits.

With the NSCN(IM) having a large number of cadres, it said they must be adequately settled to make the agreement successful and to prevent the emergence of any rebel splinter group.

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