Negotiations under shadow of guns not acceptable: Govt

Delhi based students from Nagaland stage a protest march demanding solution to the issue of Naga peace talks, and a decision on the framework agreement, in New Delhi. (PTI Photo)

The Naga peace process appeared to have hit a hurdle with the Government on Friday targeting the NSCN(IM) after it raised "contentious symbolic issues" of separate Naga national flag and Constitution, saying "endless negotiation under the shadow of guns is not acceptable" and it is "determined to conclude" the process without delay. 

The office of Naga peace interlocutor N Ravi issued a statement after he held a meeting with stakeholders following the remarks of "some" NSCN(IM) leaders' which were intended at "misleading"  people with "absurd assumptions and presumptions" over what they have already agreed with the government.

Insisting that the government is determined to conclude the peace process that has been going on for past 22 years, the statement said that a "mutually agreed draft comprehensive settlement" is ready for signing but the NSCN(IM) "unfortunately has adopted a "procrastinating attitude to delay" it  at this "auspicious juncture".

It said the NSCN(IM) is 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. They have mischievously dragged in the Framework Agreement and began imputing imaginary contents to it." NSCN(IM) leaders had recently said that the Naga peace process will not be complete without a separate flag and Constitution.

Following NSCN(IM)'s stand, Ravi, also Nagaland Governor, held a meeting with the apex leadership of all 14 Naga tribes, all minority non-Naga tribes, Nagaland GB Federation, Nagaland Tribes Council, church leaders and civil society organizations. Details of the Framework Agreement with the (NSCN I-M), which was signed in August 2015, and the agreed position with the Working Committee of NNPGs were shared and doubts on competencies were 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. The Government of India expect all negotiating parties to heed the will of the people, and facilitate the conclusion of the Naga Peace Process within the stipulated time," the statement said.

It also said in the last five years, the peace process has become "truly inclusive" and reached the conclusion stage with all Naga armed groups and the Interlocutor working out the draft final settlement. 

Tribal and civil society organisations from Nagaland, Manipur, Arunachal Pradesh and Assam were involved in the process. "The Church leaders with their constant prayers and goodwill have immensely contributed to the cause of enduring peace," it added.

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