Negotiations enter crucial stage

NEW DELHI, NOV 17 (AGENCIES)

The continuing negotiations between the NSCN (I-M) and the Ministry of Home Affairs (MAH) have reached a crucial stage with the possibility of ‘Special Category Status’ to Nagaland, including independent councils in the Naga areas of Manipur, Assam and Arunachal.

With an accord in the offing, what has been kept under wraps so far is that the MHA has also adopted a liberal approach on the NSCN (I-M) charter of demands, which include a separate flag and Naga nomenclature for official posts in the proposed state, with more autonomy, Asian Age reports stated.
MHA sources told Asian Age that the ministry had not taken the views of “stakeholder states” into consideration while agreeing to these demands. Negotiators from both sides had also agreed to drop the word “Nagalim” from the proposed agreement, but conceded most demands on which the NSCN (I-M) was set. The outfit has, however, agreed to give up its demand for a “sovereign” Nagaland.

Sources admitted that the three states neighbouring Nagaland may strongly object to the proposed agreement, but […the…] MHA is now likely to hold separate meetings with the CMs of these states on the issue of Naga-dominated areas. In Assam, a part of North Cachar Hills and some areas on the Karbi Anglong border next to Nagaland are proposed to be administered through a development council.
While state boundaries would not change, the proposed councils for Naga-dominated areas outside Nagaland would exercise effective control there. The councils will be responsible for protecting Naga culture, customs and traditions in consultation with Nagaland. Two similar councils will be formed in Manipur to run Naga-dominated hill areas) and Arunachal (to administer Tirap, Changlang and a part of Lohit district).

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