Faced with protests, Centre calls off meeting with NSCN-IM in Arunachal

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GUWAHATI, August 8: Faced with protests, the Centre has “called off” a proposed meeting between officials of the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) and the Isak-Muivah faction of Naga insurgent group National Socialist Council of Nagalim (NSCN-IM) in Arunachal Pradesh.
The Arunachal Naga Students’ Federation said the meeting had been called off by the Government of India due to “security reasons and unavoidable circumstances”.
It was scheduled at Deomali in eastern Arunachal’s Tirap district bordering Myanmar. A contentious demand of the NSCN-IM is the creation of a unified Naga homeland called “Greater Nagaland” or “Nagalim” by integrating the Naga-inhabited areas of Assam, Manipur and Arunachal with Nagaland. Arunachal’s Tirap, Changlang and Longding districts, which have sizeable Naga populations, figure in “Nagalim” and hence, the conflict.
Earlier, the All Arunachal Pradesh Students’ Union (AAPSU) had petitioned Chief Minister Pema Khandu asking him to take measures to thwart the meeting in Arunachal.
“It is a well-enacted and premeditated attempt on their part to create confusion on the purported peace talks and sabotage peace in the state as the content of the Indo-Naga Framework Agreement, which was signed on August 3, 2015, is still shrouded in mystery and yet to be made public,” the AAPSU had said in a representation to Khandu.
An insurgent group, Eastern Naga National Government (ENNG), had also threatened people not to attend the meeting or face the consequences.
Stating that the NSCN-IM’s “integration” demand has nothing to do with Arunachal, the outfit said, “It is crystal clear from Government of India that they (NSCN-IM) accepted the Constitution of India to remain under Article 371 (A) and within existing Nagaland”.
Meanwhile, speculations that the Centre is inching closer to resolving the seven-decade-old Naga political problem vis-à-vis Naga insurgency issue has made some communities of the Northeast jittery.
Raking up a 26-year-old issue, the Kukis observed a 24-hour “general strike” in their areas of Manipur on Wednesday. The strike was called by Kuki Inpi Manipur (KIM) and its frontal organizations demanding action against NSCN-IM rebels allegedly involved in the 1992 genocide of the Kukis. At the same time, the KIM made it clear that not even an inch of Kuki land would be allowed to be “affected” by any resolution adopted in the peace talks between Centre and NSCN-IM.
“Any settlement with the Nagas, without recognizing the identity, territory and political rights for self-governance of the Kukis, can never solve the political problems of Manipur,” KIM chairman Shominthang Doungel categorically said.
Reacting to the general strike enforced by the Kukis, the United Naga Council (UNC), which is Manipur’s apex Naga social organisation, said the finalization of Framework Agreement should be supported by all communities so that there was permanent peace and security in the region.
“The Nagas respect the land and history of all communities. Similarly, other communities should respect and honour the land and history of the Nagas,” UNC general secretary Milan Shimray told TNIE.
(Courtesy: TNIE)