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Modi govt has ‘no plans’ to oust interlocutor Governor Ravi despite demand from Naga groups

Governor Ravi has had a ‘successful stint’ as an interlocutor, ongoing talks between NSCN(I-M) and govt may settle the fallout between him and the rebel group, say govt officials.

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New Delhi: Despite a fallout between the National Socialist Council of Nagaland (Isak-Muivah) and interlocutor R.N. Ravi, the Nagaland Governor, further delaying the 23-year-old peace process, the central government has no plans to remove the latter from his position, ThePrint has learnt.

According to a source in the government, talks between the NSCN(I-M) delegation and representatives of the Government of India, including two senior officials of the Intelligence Bureau, to resolve “certain issues” are going on in Delhi, and there are no plans to replace Ravi “as yet”.

For five years, Governor Ravi successfully acted as an interlocutor between the Naga groups and the Centre. He signed the Framework Agreement, which aimed to end the decades-old Naga issue, in the presence of Prime Minister Narendra Modi on 3 August 2015.

Now, after five years, the NSCN(I-M) is demanding Ravi’s ouster, accusing him of arbitrarily tweaking the agreement by deleting a key word from it to “suit his interpretation” and mislead other Naga groups. 

The NSCN(I-M) is part of the Naga insurgency, which began in the early 20th century and was initially centred on the demand for a greater Nagaland or ‘Nagalim’ comprising the state and Naga-inhabited areas of Assam, Manipur, Arunachal Pradesh and Myanmar.

In the 2015 agreement, the NSCN(I-M) had agreed to give up its demands for sovereignty and settle for a solution that doesn’t require the state boundaries to be redrawn. It, however, later demanded for a separate flag and constitution for Nagaland.

NSCN(I-M) chief Thuingaleng Muivah in his Independence Day speech last week said the Nagas will co-exist with India by sharing sovereign powers as agreed in the 2015 agreement but will “not merge with India”.

He also said the Naga people have “neither accepted the Union of India nor her Constitution at any point of time”, and will not do so in the days to come.


Also read: We want peace but Governor Ravi is taking us back to fighting days, says NSCN (I-M)


A successful stint’

According to a second government official, Ravi has had a successful stint as an interlocutor as he managed to resolve many issues and played an instrumental role in bringing Naga groups on board for peace talks, which he said “cannot be ignored”.

He was appointed as the Governor of Nagaland last July.

The official said right from getting the NSCN(I-M) back on board to resolving the most complex issues, Ravi has dealt with several matters with “precision”.

After signing the Framework Agreement in 2015, he brought on board more Naga groups for the peace talk process and signed a preamble with seven Naga National Political Groups (NNPGs) in November 2017.

The official added that the ongoing talks may help resolve the existing problem as well.

ThePrint reached both Ravi and a home ministry spokesperson via phone calls for comments, but there was no response till the publication of this report.

While the government does not seem to be keen on removing Ravi “as of now”, the NSCN(I-M) Sunday released a statement, claiming that since Ravi “created imbroglio” in the talks process, the PM has given mandate to a team of Intelligence Bureau as a Fast Track Channel to continue the talks and “clear the pending points in the competency”.

“Once everything is clear, the agreement will be at the political level of the Prime Minister,” the statement said.

This, however, does not mean Ravi has been asked to keep away, sources in the government told ThePrint, refusing to make further comments on the developments.


Also read: Extortion holding up Naga peace deal. And governor Ravi is taking the bull by its horns


 

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