No move to grant Greater Nagalim: Government

Vishwa Mohan,

NEW DELHI: The Centre on Saturday informed Assam, Manipur and Arunachal Pradesh that there was no move to grant a ‘supra state body’ status to Nagas settled across the north-east and the negotiators, who have been talking to the NSCN (I-M), had never promised the outfit any such arrangement that may have severe inter-state ramifications.

The ‘clarification’ comes in response to the objection from all the three states that sought the Union home ministry’s views over certain reports on the purported ‘move’.

The reports have mentioned that the Centre was considering keeping the Naga-inhabited areas of Nagaland, Manipur, Assam and Arunachal Pradesh under a ‘supra state body’ to enable the Nagas to preserve their culture, identity and customary laws under an umbrella entity, and it would be finalized before Christmas (December 25).

Referring to the ‘clarification’ made to the states over such reports, sources in the home ministry said the government had nothing to do with the ‘move’, which was a NSCN (I-M) proposal. The Centre had never agreed to any such proposal, and the outfit badgered the negotiators with it during both ‘formal’ and ‘informal’ discussions, they added.

‘Greater Nagaland’ has been a long-pending demand of NSCN (I-M), who under their leaders Isak Swu and T Muivah have been demanding control over all Naga-inhabited areas in neighbouring Assam, Manipur and Arunachal Pradesh, ever since they joined talks with the government after signing a ‘ceasefire’ agreement in 1997.

Sources here said it appeared that people having some vested interests might have involved in some ‘misinformation’ campaign to test the ground, taking a cue from the NSCN (IM) ‘internal’ papers – comprising its own proposals and demands – at a time when the Centre was opposed to the demand of ‘Greater Nagaland’ or any kind of ‘pan-Naga supra state body’ at the cost of neighbouring states.

They said as part of any peace deal with Nagas, the government would, at best, provide maximum autonomy to Nagaland under existing provisions of the Constitution that may lead to giving them additional financial and legislative powers.

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