27 October, 2019
As the deadline set by the Centre for wrapping up the Naga peace talks is on October 31, 2019, it intends to meet the deadline soon.
But some key issues remain unresolved with the National Socialist Council of Nagalim (Isak-Muivah), or NSCN (I-M).
The talks seek to settle disputes that date back to colonial rule.
The Nagas are an ethnic community that comprises several tribes who live in the state of Nagaland and its neighbourhood.
One key demand of Naga groups has been a Greater Nagalim that would cover the state of Nagaland, parts of neighbouring states and Myanmar.
The British had annexed Assam in 1826, in which they subsequently created the Naga Hills district and went on to extend its boundaries.
The assertion of Naga nationalism, which began during British rule, has continued after Independence, and even after Nagaland became a state.
Along the way, the unresolved issues gave rise to decades of insurgency that claimed thousands of lives, including of civilians.
Historical Reasons :
The earliest sign of Naga resistance dates back to 1918, with the formation of the Naga Club.
In 1929, the Club told the Simon Commission to leave them alone to determine for themselves as in ancient times.
In 1946, A Z Phizo formed the Naga National Council (NNC), which declared Naga independence on August 14, 1947.
In 1951, it claimed to have conducted a referendum in which an overwhelming majority supported an independent Naga state.
By the early 1950s, the NNC had taken up arms and gone underground.
Progress of Peace Talks :
Before the ongoing talks, which followed a framework agreement in 2015, there were two other agreements between Naga groups and the Centre.
1975 - A peace accord was signed in Shillong in which the NNC leadership agreed to give up arms.
Several NNC leaders including Isak, Muivah and Khaplang refused to accept the agreement and broke away to form the NSCN.
1988 - Khaplang broke away to form the NSCN (K) while Isak and Muivah headed the NSCN (I-M).
1997 - Preceded by rounds of talks since 1995, NSCN (I-M) signed a ceasefire agreement with the government.
The key agreement was that there would be no counter-insurgency offensive against the NSCN (I-M), who in turn would not attack Indian forces.
2015 - The Centre signed a framework agreement with the NSCN (I-M) which set the stage for the ongoing peace talks.
2017 - Six other Naga armed outfits under the banner of the Naga National Political Groups (NNPGs) joined the talks.
Issues in the Naga Peace talks :
The government and the NSCN (I-M) have failed to agree on issues relating to a separate Naga flag and a constitution.
The NSCN (I-M) is not willing to budge from this demand and is looking for a lasting solution.
But, they are fully aware of the Government of India’s position with this.
A recent statement from Governor’s office said the government is determined to “honourably conclude” the peace talks and it is reaching a conclusion stage.
They have mischievously dragged in the Framework Agreement and began imputing imaginary contents to it.
Source: THE HINDU
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