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Centre, NSCN (IM) to decide on new interlocutor next week

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Kohima, August 6: The Central Government and the National Socialist Council of Nagalim (Isak-Muivah) are expected to sit soon to decide on new interlocutor for the Naga peace process.
NSCN (IM) insider said they are likely to meet next week in New Delhi.
Currently Chief Negotiator and NSCN (IM) general secretary, Thuingaleng Muivah is in the national capital for twin purpose – for treatment and to meet the Central leaders.
Sources disclosed that another group of senior members of the group are leaving for New Delhi on Friday; they are, among others, emissary to collective leadership, VS Atem, Rev. A. Puni Mao, TT Among, Vikiye Awomi, Limachuba, Rh. Raising, Meyong Phom, Zarsie Nyuthe and Karaibo Chawang. The team is expected to discuss about appointment of new interlocutor amidst controversies surrounding the present interlocutor.
The NSCN (IM) team will be led by Muivah, while the Union Government’s team is expected to be represented by senior officials from the Home Ministry, Defence and intelligence agencies.
Last month NSCN (IM) skipped the scheduled talks with Interlocutor, RN Ravi citing health problem by Muivah.
Sources said talks are doing the rounds that removal of Ravi is imminent, as the Union Government wanted to give a fillip to the stalled talks.
‘New Interlocutor’
NSCN (IM) source also said talks are likely to be held next week, adding that names of retired Intelligence Bureau Director, AB Mathur and retired Lt. Gen. Himalaya Singh from Manipur are being considered for the new interlocutor.
Mathur is currently engaged in the Bodo peace process. But for various reason, the NSCN (IM) may opt for Mathur.
Sources said breakthrough in the talks came when former Nagaland chief secretary, R S Pandey was interlocutor, but he resigned to join politics.
Interestingly, since the inception of Naga political movement, for good, or for bad, Governors and intelligence agencies like IB, Research and Analysis Wing (RAW) and Military Intelligence (MI) have been playing a crucial role. Agreements like 9 Point, 16 Point, 1972 mass surrender of Revolutionary Government of Nagaland and Shillong Accord 1975 were all engineered by Governors, and assisted by the intelligence agencies.
There are other reasons too, but NSCN (IM) policymakers did not want to repeat history, and does not the Naga political issue be handled by a Constitutional head.
Whereas, the interlocutor and Governor Ravi is in rush to ink the final pact, NSCN (IM)’s demand for his removal has become louder after differences in interpretation of August 3, 2015 Framework Agreement, which is also known as a “Permeable”. Both have accused each other of misinterpreting the framework agreement which was signed by former NSCN (IM) chairman, Isak Chishi Swu and Ravi.
The signatories said that talks have been completed, but interpretation of the framework agreement has gone apart.
NSCN (IM) source said competencies have been finalized but the thorny issues like constitution and flag remains unresolved, as both negotiating parties stick to their guns.
The temperature of NSCN (IM) has heated up after Ravi’s June 16 letter to Chief Minister, Neiphiu Rio to rein in “armed gangs”, terming it law and order situation, which was further compounded by ordering profiling of Government employees to check possibility of having link with Naga cadres.
Several Naga organizations have taken jibe at the Governor, with the way he is dealing the peace process, and trying to scale down the Naga political issue to law and order problem. The State Government has also rejected the claims of Ravi.
Observing the growing frustration among the NSCN (IM) functionaries, and subsequently fleeing of around 1000 cadres out of the country, who are currently based in Kachin State in Myanmar near China border, the Union Government wants to win back the trust of the Naga group, and further the peace process.
It also remains to be seen what more role Ravi will play, even if he is removed as interlocutor, as other groups, who are in a hurry to sign the agreement, are seemingly close to him. There are also some groups who have been close to Ravi, and critical of NSCN (IM), crying for an early solution. (Page News Service)