Guwahati, January 23: Naga separatist group NSCN-IM, which has been engaged in peace negotiations with the central government, has “removed” a prominent member from a key post leading to tension among a section of the cadres, official sources said.
Hutovi Chishi Swu, one of the prominent faces from the Sema tribe within NSCN-IM, has been removed from the post of convener of the outfit’s steering committee, reportedly by the group’s general secretary Th Muivah, the sources said.
Hutovi was ousted for allegedly airing his views on developments within the outfit during a meeting in Dimapur in the last week of December 2020, they said.
Hutovi had recently hogged the limelight when he led an attempt by the outfit to reach out to the different tribal bodies of Nagaland and gauge their opinion about the ongoing Naga peace talks.
Sources said Hutovi received the response that suggested that there was a strong undercurrent in favour of an early settlement of the vexed Naga insurgency problem.
Hutovi had also called a meeting of the top leaders of the NSCN-IM on December 24 in Dimapur and made a detailed presentation about his meetings with the tribal bodies and emphasised on the need for course correction and for a pragmatic stand in the peace talks with the central government.
However, soon he was removed from his post and one Ashihou Asoumai, a Poumai Naga from Manipur, was brought in his place, sources said.
The NSCN-IM had signed a Framework Agreement on August 3, 2015 in the presence of Prime Minister Narendra Modi to find a permanent solution.
The framework agreement came after over 80 rounds of negotiations spanning 18 years, with the first breakthrough made in 1997 when the ceasefire agreement was sealed after decades of insurgency in Nagaland which started soon after India’s independence in 1947.
However, the talks with the NSCN-IM are currently going nowhere as the group has been insisting for a separate Naga flag and constitution, a demand rejected by the central government. (PTI)