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NSCN (I-M) resumes talks with Centre ‘without Governor Ravi’, says focus on contentious areas

NSCN (I-M) has been at loggerheads with Governor R.N. Ravi after he wrote to CM Neiphiu Rio expressing concern over the ‘precarious law and order situation’ in Nagaland.

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Kohima: After a pause of nine months, the National Socialist Council of Nagaland (Isak-Muivah) resumed peace talks with the central government in the national capital Monday, aiming to resolve the decades-old sovereignty dispute in Nagaland, ThePrint has learnt.

However, the talks are being held without the presence of Nagaland Governor R.N. Ravi, a source in the rebel group confirmed. 

ThePrint had reported Monday that representatives of the NSCN (I-M), led by general secretary Th Muivah, are in New Delhi to resume the talks with the central government.

“Informal talks with the GoI Representatives have begun. It is being done without [R.N.] Ravi. Yesterday was more of introductories (introductions) and how to go about it.  It will start from today, for 3 to 4 times a week,” the source said Tuesday. 

The NSCN (I-M) has been at loggerheads with Ravi after he wrote to Chief Minister Neiphiu Rio expressing concern over the “precarious law and order situation” in the state.

The rebel group is seeking the removal of Ravi as the interlocutor.

In a statement on 2 August, issued ahead of the fifth anniversary of the signing Framework Agreement — the first “breakthrough” in the 23-year-long peace dialogue — the NSCN (I-M) blamed the governor for creating a “huge trust deficit” with the Centre. 

ThePrint reached Governor Ravi via calls and texts for a comment but there was no response till the time of publishing this report.

While sources in the Centre confirmed that “talks are on” and more meetings are scheduled, they refused to divulge any further details saying it is an “ongoing process”.

A Ministry of Home Affairs spokesperson did not comment on the development.

Also read: Moved by students’ forest trek for internet, Nagaland offers online lessons via pen drive

On the agenda

According to the NSCN (I-M) source, the round of talks will focus on certain “contentious areas”.

“It will all be in the form of informal talks till differences are sorted out. We feel positive of the outcome. The Government of India is much more sensitive to our grievances this time round,” the source added. 

The NSCN (I-M), the largest rebel group in Nagaland that has been demanding a sovereign homeland, is sticking to its demand for a separate flag and constitution.

In an interview to ThePrint Saturday, V. Horam, executive member of the group’s steering committee, said this round of talks will focus on these demands. 

“The Government of India has been telling us to use the word ‘yehzabo’ (constitution) in our dialect. We said we will definitely use both ‘yehzabo’ and ‘constitution’. They then said we can use ‘bylaw’, to which we said no. It has to be the constitution of the Nagas. Also, the Naga national flag has to be there, because that is very important,” Horam said.

(With inputs from Ananya Bhardwaj in New Delhi)

Also read: Sikkim could finally be added to India’s rail map by 2022, 13 years after project began


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