New Delhi, Dec 13 : Top NSCN-IM leaders Isak Chishi Swu and Thuingaleng Muivah today met Home Minister P Chidambaram and discussed with him the ongoing peace process to find an amicable solution to the vexed Naga issue.
During their 20 minute meeting, NSCN-IM ‘chairman’ Swu and ‘general secretary’ Muivah apprised the home minister various aspects of the peace talks between the government interlocutor R S Pandey and them for an “honourable solution” acceptable to all.
“Things have been much clearer now,” Muivah said after the meeting, also attended by Pandey.
Asked when an agreement could be reached, he said, “We are working for that and we have the expectation.” The NSCN-IM and the interlocutor have been engaged in intense discussions on some of the proposals moved to find out a mutually acceptable political settlement based on the uniqueness of Naga history.
In July, the government and the NSCN-IM had announced that they “narrowed” down differences and had been working out a settlement in the “shortest possible time”.
Sources said under the proposed peace, the government offered to provide maximum autonomy to Nagaland under various provisions of the Constitution but is unlikely to accept the demand of the unification of Naga-inhabited areas.
The issue is highly controversial and is opposed by Manipur, Arunachal Pradesh and Assam.
The Naga group has been holding parleys with Pandey to iron out differences on several other vexed issues.
In the July joint statement, Pandey and Muivah had said while the differences between the two parties have narrowed, some of the proposals would require further negotiations to reach a mutually acceptable solution.
“By appreciating and respecting each other’s position and difficulties, both the parties are confident of working out a settlement in the shortest possible time,” the statement had said.
The NSCN-IM has proposed a federal relationship with the Centre with additional financial and legislative powers while the government offered financial package for socio- cultural development of Naga people.
A ceasefire was agreed on with NSCN-IM in August, 1997. In May, 1998, the Union government appointed Swaraj Kaushal as the first negotiator. He continued in his post till July 1999. After him, former home secretary K Padmanabhaiah took charge as the Centre’s pointsman and continued till 2009.
Pandey, a former petroleum secretary and a 1972 batch Nagaland cadre IAS officer was appointed as the new interlocutor on February 11, 2010.