Nagaland governor RN Ravi admits he has been asked to conclude a final settlement on the Naga issue within three months by none other than Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
Ravi, the Centre’s interlocutor for the Naga peace process, took charge as Nagaland’s governor on Aug 1.
“Before my appointment as Nagaland governor, the PM had expressed the need to conclude the peace process within three months time…that is a long enough time because we have been talking and negotiating for the last 22 years,” Ravi told a civic reception in Kohima.
The civic reception was hosted in Ravi’s honour at Nagaland Baptist Church Council (NBCC) Convention Centre
The programme was attended by civil societies and church leaders of Nagaland.
Ravi, a former Intelligence Bureau (IB) officer, claimed ‘most substantive issues’ have already been sorted out.
“In the last five years, we have taken spontaneous steps by including all the stakeholders, both sides trying their best, and there is no reason why we cannot conclude it,” he said.
“We have resolved all substantive issues including powers that belong to the Naga people and they are the masters. On a few symbolic issues, options were offered and interlocutors were urged to explore,” said Ravi.
He said , “There was sincere intention in every attempt but inclusivity was missing: all the Naga armed groups, Naga tribal bodies, Naga civil societies, grassroots leaders, Naga intellectuals, senior citizens, elders and Naga legislators should be included”.
The NSCN-IM, one of the main Naga militant groups had also said that the issue of integration of all Naga territories was an integral part of the ongoing political dialogue with the Centre.
The NSCN-IM has been in talks with the government since 1997 after the signing of a ceasefire agreement.
Allaying the apprehension that the abrogation of Article 370 in Jammu and Kashmir may cast a shadow on Nagaland, the governor said, “Nothing of that sort will happen because Article 370 was a temporary provision.”
However, the special constitutional provision for Nagaland under Article 371(A) was the result of over three years of negotiation between the people of Nagaland and the central government.
“It is a solemn commitment, it is not temporary or impermanent as Article 370 was,” the governor said.
Chief minister Neiphiu Rio described governor RN Ravi “as no stranger to the Naga people because of his role as the Indian government’s interlocutor for the Naga political issue and whose name is a household name amongst the Naga families”.
He said PM Modi appointed Ravi as the new governor of Nagaland with an objective to resolve the Naga political issue and whose appointment at this juncture would pave the way for the Naga political settlement.
So if Ravi and Modi mean business the Nagas can expect a final settlement of the six decade long imbroglio before Christmas this year.
But it still remain unclear whether the Modi government would go for a territorial reorganisation of northeastern states to meet the Naga demand for a Greater Nagalim or whether the accord will be limited to the current boundaries of Nagaland .
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