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‘Solution delayed due to flag & constitution demand’

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Kohima, October 18: With the three-month time for finding a solution to the more than 22-year-old Indo-Naga talks ending this month, Nagaland Governor and interlocutor for peace process, RN Ravi today held marathon closed door deliberations with leaders tribal bodies, Church, GBs and various civil societies of the State here.
Altogether 116 representatives attended the meeting representing Western Sumi Hoho, Sumi Hoho, Pungro Publi Forum, Konyak Union, United Sangtam Likhum Pumji, Chang Khulei Setsang, Phom Council, Lotha Hoho, Ao Senden, Chakhesang Public Organisation, Angami Public Organisation,Pochury Hoho, Yimchungru Tribal Council, Rengma Hoho, Zeliang Peoples’ Organisation, Kuki Inpi Nagaland, Kachari Tribal Council, Nagaland Garo Tribal Council, Karbi Union Nagaland, Eastern Nagaland Peoples’ Organsiation, Nagaland Gaon Burahs Forum, Nagaland Tribes Council, Central, Nagaland Tribes Council, Nagaland Baptist Churches Council and Nagaland Joint Christian Forum.
Though United Naga Council, Manipur was also invited for the meeting, they did not attend it, as per the list of signatories of the meeting.
During the 2½ hour meeting held at the Hotel Japfu here, the Governor briefed the Naga leaders on how far the talks have reached and also the contents of the Framework Agreement signed between the NSCN (IM) and Government of India in August 2015.
The Governor also clarified their doubts on the announced desire of the Prime Minister Narendra Modi to find a solution within three months which ends this month.
Various leaders coming out of the meeting told reporters that Ravi has made it clear that the Government of India is desirous not to prolong the 22 years talks any further but to conclude it. Nonetheless, he (Ravi) informed the Naga leaders that the delay is mainly due to the insistent demand on Naga flag and separate constitution.
Ravi also informed them that there is nothing wrong in asking for separate flag and constitution, but the Government of India would not concede it.
The Governor also informed them that there is no mention of Government of India and Nagas being two separate entities in any part of the Framework Agreement.
The Governor also informed the House that as per the Framework Agreement, the seats of the Nagaland Assembly would be increased from present 60 to somewhere 80-90 while the rights guaranteed under Article 371(A) of the Constitution of India would be upheld.
It also has the provision for Nagas living in other states, including Assam, Manipur and Arunachal Pradesh to have their own Regional Autonomous Councils.
On the issue of GoI holding two separate talks with NSCN(IM) and Working Committee of Naga National Political Groups, comprising of eight factions, the Centre’s interlocutor made it clear that there would be only one solution and both NSCN(IM) and NNPGs will have accept it, Naga leaders said.
‘Optimism’
Coming out of the meeting, various Naga leaders expressed optimism.
“It was very positive and we have heard what Ravi had to say and he is very clear on the issue, said Rev Zelhou Keyho, secretary general of NBCC.
“Positive response because the presentations was very clear and also what the civil societies wanted was also very clear,” he added.
Representative of Zeliang peoples’ Organization Kohima, Joshua Newmai expressed optimism on the stand of the Governor that GoI is committed to find solution within the next thirteen days. He was also hopeful that the issue of flag and constitution would be resolved.
APO vice president K T Vilie-o said GoI can’t pronounce solution if the NSCN(IM) don’t sign the accord or any other groups would be willing to accept it or not.
He was also appreciative that such meeting should be held regularly in order to understand each other better. “Ravi says 22 years of negotiation have gone by and nothing has been worked out, while some faction wants to remain in same condition but the public and others does not want to go any further but have solution as soon as possible,” he said.
Social activists Khekiye K Sema while reacting on the statement of Ravi that the GoI wants to go ahead with solution even if NSCN(IM) continues to disagree, was of the view that in this 22 years of negotiations the Government of India has not listened to the voices of the general Naga people but we want it to listen to us and wait to get the full endorsement of the Naga people altogether and not just a handful of people. (Page News Service)