14 yrs on, Naga issue inching towards solution

Sanjib Kr Baruah | Hindustan Times

New Delhi | September 26 : Protracted negotiations between the Centre and the National Socialist Council of Nagalim (Isak Muivah) for the last 14 years to resolve one of the world’s longest running insurgencies are finally assuming the contours of a solution. “A distinct emerging possibility is the setting up of two autonomous councils with adequate powers in Naga-majority areas of Manipur and Arunachal Pradesh as part of the settlement,” sources told Hindustan Times.
“More autonomy is also envisaged for Nagaland by transferring more items to the state list from the central and concurrent lists.” Nagaland enjoys more powers than most other Indian states under Article 371 (A) of the Constitution. Meanwhile, both sides remained tight-lipped on the developments. “There has been progress although some of the issues are yet to be sorted out. It would be difficult to give any dates,” said RS Pandey, interlocutor for the Naga talks.
Admitting that some headway has been made, V S Atem, convener of the NSCN (IM)’s steering committee, said, “There have been developments but it is too early to comment.” The expectation is that the NSCN will not insist on absolute sovereignty provided they have an honourable solution and resolution of the issue of integration of Naga-dominated areas. Most of the 31-points brought up by the NSCN have already been resolved and now the focus of the talks has boiled down to the degree of autonomy that will be conferred to Nagaland and the other envisaged administrative entities.
There has been vehement opposition from Manipur on the redrawing of state boundaries and hence the need for an imaginative solution towards a resolution of the vexed Naga issue.
Interestingly, a demand for a separate state by the Konyak, Phom, Sangtam, Chang, Khiamniungan and Yimchunger tribes in four districts in eastern Nagaland has been gaining ground. The Nephiu Rio-led government has already recommended an autonomous council for this area to the Centre.
NSCN-IM has been on a ceasefire mode since 1997 with about 65 rounds of parleys taking place both in India and abroad since then. Negotiations have acquired more traction after NSCN (IM) leaders Thuingaleng Muivah and Isak Swu stationing themselves in India for more than a year now.

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