Nagas to be made party to agreement: Pillai

GUWAHATI, FEB 16 (AGENCIES)

Former union home secretary G.K. Pillai has revealed the policy towards political solution to the Naga issue that has been going on for several decades would be to rope in the entire Naga society to whatever deal that would be struck.

In an interview to The Telegraph G.K Pillai said “all have to endorse the agreement, from the gaon burhas (village headmen) to civil society groups… none should be able to turn around and say after some years that they were kept in the dark and hence would not accept the agreement.”

The talks have been dragged on with the NSCN (I-M) for nearly 15 years, the former bureaucrat said adding, a settlement could be expected later this year.

NSCN (I-M) will hold consultations with other factions and civil society groups from February 22 before sitting for the next round of talks with the Centre.

The former union home secretary further said “Things should start moving quicker once these consultations are held and the NSCN (I-M) leadership gets the people’s views.”

The NSCN (I-M), which had started the negotiations with its demand for sovereignty, has since reportedly climbed down and, according to indications, would be happy to settle for any model that would give the Nagas greater autonomy, the reports stated.

However, the demand of bringing in Naga-inhabited areas of Manipur, Arunachal Pradesh and Assam with Nagaland under a single administrative unit remains a sore point, the reports stated.

The other three neighbouring states have made it clear that come what may, they will not give their land for “Nagalim or Greater Nagaland” as demanded by the NSCN (I-M).

According to reports, an alternative arrangement for the Nagas living in Manipur, who form the largest block outside Nagaland, could be put in place.

Meanwhile, Pillai said that the NSCN (K), led by S.S. Khaplang, was likely to look “eastward” (to Naypyidaw, the Myanmarese capital) rather than to west (Delhi) given the changing socio-political scenario in the neighbouring country.

“After all, they belong there although they have a lot in common with the Nagas of Nagaland or elsewhere,” he said.
“Contacts between Nagas on either side of the border could continue through trade and commerce,” Pillai said, referring to border haats that have already been set up or the ones that may be set up in the future.

“Once they get to have a greater say in their own affairs, there is no reason why they should not feel comfortable there. Besides, redrawing international boundaries is next to impossible,” the former union home secretary, G.K Pillai pointed out.

Myanmar is said to have one-third of the total Naga populace. They not only participated in the 2010 elections in that country but were also able to send six representatives to the country’s Parliament. One of them was even a minister, the reports stated.

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