Pandey Exit Jolts Naga Talks

 Courtesy Hindustan Times

NEW DELHI (12/18/13): The protracted Naga peace negotiations — going on for 16 years — have suffered a jolt with interlocutor RS Pandey sending his resignation letter to the Union government on Monday after announcing that he would be contesting the 2014 Lok Sabha polls on the BJP ticket.

While there is sufficient indication that the contribution of Pandey — a former petroleum secretary — as an interlocutor is more or less over, the onus seemingly lies with the central government now and its ability to convince Manipur and Arunachal Pradesh, which are dead against any redrawing of the borders, or creating an administrative architecture for a resolution of issues with the Nagas by paving the way for a “Greater Nagalim”. Insisting that the peace process will go on, Pandey told HT: “The blueprint for the final resolution of issues is a very sensitive one where all the stakeholders have to be on board. And when the stakeholders are states, consultations take a lot of time. That is why the process is taking time.”

Admitting that Pandey’s resignation is a setback, Naga Hoho (supreme tribal council) president Keviletuo Kiewhuo said: “We understand that Pandey completed his brief. It is now up to the government to respond. Talks have been going on for just too long now.”

HT had earlier reported how a distinct, emerging possibility for resolution was emerging with a framework for setting up two autonomous councils with adequate powers in the Naga majority areas of Manipur and Arunachal Pradesh, more autonomy for Nagaland by transferring more items to the state list of the Constitution from the central and concurrent lists, etc. Pandey broke ground as far as the negotiations with the NSCN (Isak-Muivah faction) leadership was concerned. In 1998, Swaraj Kaushal, for mer Mizoram Governor and a key figure of the Mizo accord, was appointed interlocutor.

 

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