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Five of the six Naga groups, currently in peace talks with the Union government, have said that the Centre has disapproved of the idea of the unification of Naga dominated areas of the North East along with Nagaland to create a “greater Nagaland”. This was reported by The Week a news magazine in its July 6 issue. The report also disclosed that the Centre had reportedly told the groups that it would not grant any financial autonomy to the state.
According to The Week, GPRN/NSCN leader Alezo Venuh, emissary to the collective leadership, said “Apart from the sovereignty issue, the Indian government has also refused to include Naga dominated areas to create a special Naga state.”
Venuh is the leader of the GPRN/NSCN, which along with other members of the working group had on November 17, 2017, joined the peace talks with the Union government. The conglomerate of five organisations, however, did not join the talks with NSCN (I-M), the other biggest armed group in the North East, which has been in talks with the Centre for the last 22 years, the report said, adding that five groups are running parallel talks with interlocutor R.N. Ravi.
“In fact one of the conditions in the peace treaty has been that we would not disclose the details of the talks. So our hands are tied,” he said.
According to The Week one of the reasons for the central government not accepting a special Naga state, carving out all Naga dominated areas in North East, would be possible unrest in Manipur and Arunachal Pradesh.
In Manipur, the BJP runs a coalition government with Naga People’s Front (NPF). In Arunachal Pradesh, a dissection would have international implications as the Chinese continue to project it as a “disputed” territory.
The Week said that one of the major issues that has become a road block for the negotiations is the problem of extortion by the Naga groups, an issue which had also been raised recently in the open by a prominent conglomeration of tribes.
The Centre has taken a serious view of a myriad of independent reports from Nagaland and other North Eastern states, which indicate that the Naga armed groups have made extortion a major activity.
Different civil societies are making efforts to end the extortion activities by bringing all such groups together such as under the slogan of ‘One Government. One Tax.”
The Week reported that, Isak Sumi, deputy kilonser of the NSCN (K), had welcomed the “effort of the Forum for Naga Reconciliation (FNR) and others to bring a single tax regime. But we will not enter into any talk by abandoning our demand of sovereignty for Naga people.”
Reverend Wati Aier, convener of FNR, said, “Our attempt to bring all such groups under one umbrella does not mean that we would like to help government of India in peace talks. Our effort has got nothing to do with the peace talks done by government of India with a few groups.”
The Week also maintained that activists in Nagaland involved in efforts to bring unity among all groups have not addressed the issue of extortion. The activists maintained that the forcible collections are not extortion but a means needed to fund the movements.
On June 3, 2018, the NNPGs Working Committee (WC) media cell decided to suspend all negotiations with the Government of India in protest against the raid carried out at the residence of its co-convener and general secretary of NNC (Parent Body), V Nagi on June 2, 2018.
However, acknowledging the appeal of the apex tribal bodies and GBs of Nagaland, the Working Committee (WC) of the NNPGs decided to resume the negotiation process with the Government of India on June 10.
It may be mentioned that in an unprecedented move, six ‘Naga National Political Groups’ (NNPGs)- -GPRN/NSCN, FGN, NNC (parent body), NPGN/NNC (NA), NSCN (R) and NNC/GDRN (NA) in December 2016 had unanimously decided to join hands “in the interest of the Naga people”.