Panel pushes for early Naga solution

GUWAHATI, FEB 10 (AGENCIES) | Publish Date: 2/10/2019 11:10:50 AM IST

A Rajya Sabha panel has urged the Centre to conclude the Naga peace talks, which started more than two decades ago, and come to an agreement with stakeholders soon. This is the second time in seven months that the department-related committee on Home Affairs (Rajya Sabha) has asked the NDA government to bring the Naga peace efforts to a logical end.

The panel also wondered at the delay in concluding the Naga peace talks “when all other stakeholders other than the Government appear to be eager to conclude it.” Any further delay may harm the progress achieved in the last few years, it said. The panel headed by Congress leader P. Chidambaram submitted the 219th report (action taken report) to the department related Standing Committee on Home Affairs in the Rajya Sabha on February 7.

In the report, the Home Ministry said, “Talks with NSCN (I-M) and other groups are continuing and efforts to reach a final settlement are going on.”

In July last, the committee, in a report, observed that there had been positive outcomes in the peace process. It also expressed fears that Naga groups and tribal bodies might get restless because of the delay in finding a solution to the crisis. 

The report further said, “The Committee apprehends that any further delay may harm the progress achieved during the last few years. The Committee, therefore, strongly recommends that the Government should conclude the peace talks, at the earliest, based on a broad understanding over the most contentious issues.”

The committee had observed that the improvement in law and order in Nagaland could be attributed to the 2015 Framework Agreement. It noted that it “believes that the signing of the final Naga Peace Accord can bring long lasting peace to the State that was once the hotspot of insurgency for the North Eastern Region.”

The report said any final settlement with the Naga groups might have implications for Manipur, Arunachal Pradesh and Assam, where Nagas live in certain areas. The most contentious issue until now has been the Nagas’ demand for integration of Naga-dominated areas of Manipur, Arunachal Pradesh and Assam.

“The committee, keeping in view the historical dynamics of insurgency, wishes to remind the Government that the most important aspect of any agreement with insurgents is the adequate rehabilitation and settlement programme for the cadres of the insurgent outfits. NSCN (I-M), being the largest group in the entire region, would have thousands of cadres who must be adequately settled to make the agreement successful and to prevent the emergence of any splinter groups…. the government should, nevertheless, stay prepared for any scenario that may emerge in the aftermath of this agreement, and keep security forces on the alert,” the panel said in its report.

After signing a Framework Agreement with the NSCN (I-M), the Centre also signed a ‘preamble’ or ‘Agreed Position’ in November 2017 with six Naga National Political Groups (NNPGs). The latest to join the peace talks, under the banner of the NNPGs Working Committee, was NSCN (K) led by Khango Konyak.

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