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Key meeting on Naga peace talks on Thursday


Author : Indo Asian News Service

Politics, National, India, Nagaland Read Latest News and Articles

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Kohima, Dec 8 (IANS) The all-important meeting of the Core Committee on the Naga political issue will be held here on Thursday, sources in the know of things said on Wednesday, adding Assam Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma will attend the meeting.

A senior official of the Nagaland government said that the Core Committee on the Naga political issue would discuss the peace talks between the Central government and the various Naga outfits including Isak-Muivah faction of the National Socialist Council of Nagalim (NSCN-IM).

The core committee with Nagaland Chief Minister Neiphiu Rio is the convener, Deputy Chief Minister Y. Patton and former Chief Minister T.R. Zeliang are co-conveners while Planning and Parliamentary Affairs Minister Neiba Kronu is the member-secretary.

All the 60 MLAs of the state are members of the committee, formed on June 10 to pursue the Naga political issue (Naga peace talk).

"The Core Committee is likely to urge the Centre to expedite the Naga peace talks at the earliest," the official said on condition of anonymity, refusing to provide details on the other issues likely to be discussed in the crucial meeting.

Thursday's meeting of the Core Committee on the Naga political issue assumes significance after the December 4 firing by the security forces that left 14 civilians dead and 30 others injured.

The meeting would also be held in the backdrop of Nagaland government demanding withdrawal of the Armed Forces Special Power Act, 1958 (AFSPA) from the state.

Assam Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma had earlier said he and his Nagaland counterpart (Neiphiu Rio) would soon meet Union Home Minister Amit Shah to discuss the Naga political issue and the opposition-less United Democratic Alliance (UDA) government in Nagaland.

Both Sarma and Rio had already held separate talks with Shah about the Naga peace talks while the Centre is holding meetings with the leaders of the various Naga outfits.

Sarma, who is the convener of the BJP-led alliance of regional parties -- North East Democratic Alliance (NEDA), is already involved in the peace talks and attended meetings with the Central government's representative A.K. Mishra in September in Dimapur.

Media reports said that the Framework Agreement has become a roadblock to the "final settlement" of the Naga political issue.

To take forward the Naga peace process, the ruling and opposition parties in Nagaland few months back agreed to form an all-party government named the UDA headed by Rio.

The Bharatiya Janata Party, which is now an ally of the ruling Nationalist Democratic Progressive Party (NDPP), and the opposition Naga People's Front (NPF) and two Independent MLAs are the partners in the government.

The Central government has been separately holding peace talks with the NSCN-IM and eight other Naga outfits, which came together a few years ago under the banner of Naga National Political Groups (NNPGs).

The NSCN-IM and the other outfits entered into a ceasefire agreement with the Centre in 1997. Since August 1997, the NSCN-IM has held over 85 rounds of negotiations with the Centre.

The Naga outfit and intelligence sources said that while many of the 31 demands of the Naga groups have been almost resolved during the talks with the Centre, differences remained over a separate flag and a separate constitution.

The NSCN-IM's demand for integration of the Naga-dominated areas of the neighbouring states -- Manipur, Assam and Arunachal Pradesh -- was also strongly opposed by all the three states.



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