TH Muivah

Staff Reporter DIMAPUR, OCT 27 (NPN) | Government of India representative and Interlocutor for Naga Peace Talks, R.N Ravi and NSCN (I-M) delegation led by ato kilonser and chief negotiator, Th. Muivah will sit for a crucial meeting Monday in New Delhi.

Monday’s meeting is likely to be the final meeting before the three-month deadline set by Prime Minister, Narendra Modi, to conclude the negotiation, expires on October 31.

Earlier, sources informed Nagaland Post that both the negotiating parties are working hard for a positive outcome. Sources expressed hope that the meeting would be “significant as both the parties are keen to solve the issue at the earliest”.

It may be recalled that for nearly two years, government of India and NSCN (I-M) have not been able to amicably settle the latter’s demand for separate Naga national Flag and Constitution.

The stalemate of Talks with NSCN (I-M) was made public, for the first time, when the Interlocutor in an exclusive interview to Nagaland Post on July 14, 2019, admitted that “differing positions” on the demand for separate Naga flag and constitution by NSCN (I-M) was holding the negotiating parties from signing the final agreement.

Just six days after July 14 interview to Nagaland Post, Ravi was appointed Governor of Nagaland on July 20, 2019 by the President of India.

Subsequently, in his civic reception programme on August 16, 2019 in Kohima, Ravi disclosed that prior to being named as the Governor of Nagaland, Prime Minister, Narendra Modi had tasked him to settle the Naga political issue within three months.

Also Read: NNPGs ready to conclude talks: Kitovi

Five days after the public declaration of three-month timeframe, in an exclusive interview to Nagaland Post on August 22, 2019, Governor Ravi likened the static Talk with NSCN (I-M) to a “switched on car engine in a neutral gear”.

Ravi also made it clear that the three-month timeframe should not be construed as an “ultimatum”. He said, “Pushing a car with a switched on engine in a neutral gear should not be construed as an ultimatum. No one would like to sit in such a car for so long.”

However, on September 8, 2019, in an exclusive interview to Nagaland Post, NSCN/GPRN chairman, Q. Tuccu accused government of India of backtracking from August 3, 2015 Framework Agreement signed by the two entities in the presence of Prime Minister, Narendra Modi.

Tuccu also termed Modi’s desire to conclude the Talk within three months as an “ultimatum” to the Nagas. He countered Ravi’s jibe by saying, “The car is in neutral gear because of the government of India and not NSCN.”

Since then NSCN (I-M) through its MIP has issued several press statements condemning government of India’s, particularly the Interlocutor, approach in handling the group’s demand for separate Naga national Flag and Constitution.

To resolve this contentious issue, Ravi and NSCN (I-M) led by Th. Muivah have held series of meetings till October 24 with no positive outcome.

After October 28 (Monday) meeting with NSCN (I-M), the Interlocutor will meet Working Committee (WC) of Naga National Political Groups (NNPGs) led by its convenor, N. Kitovi Zhimomi on October 29 in New Delhi.

Depending on the outcome of October 28 and October 29 crucial meetings, Ravi is likely to convene a joint meeting with both the negotiating parties (NSCN and NNPGs) where he is expected to work out modalities for all negotiating parties to jointly sign the final agreement.

After taking over as the Interlocutor, Ravi has maintained that there will be only “One Peace Process and One Solution”. Acting on this principle, he included WC of NNPGs comprising of six Naga Political Groups (NPGs) into the Naga Peace Process in the year 2017. In early part of 2019, NSCN (K) led by Khango Konyak joined the peace process by becoming the 7th group of WC of NNPGs.

At present there are eight NPGs in the peace process namely, NSCN/GPRN (I-M), the group has been negotiating for over 22 years and GPRN/NSCN, NSCN/GPRN (K), NSCN (Reformation), NNC/FGN, NNC/NGPN, NNC/GDRN and NNC (Parent Body).

Meanwhile, keeping in mind the possibility of Naga peace talks concluding in next few days, Nagaland and Manipur governments have taken steps to meet any eventuality and have put their respective police forces on “high alert”.

~EMN

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