Oct 21, 2004

Nagalim: Another Round of Naga Talks in Bangkok yesterday

With the Centre determined to bring a semblance of peace in the North-East, interlocutor for the Naga talks
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With the Centre determined to bring a semblance of peace in the North-East, interlocutor for the Naga talks, K. Padmanabhaiah, is set to fly to Bangkok tomorrow to meet NSCN (I-M) insurgent leaders.

After giving a clean chit to the Naga underground group for the October 2 Dimapur blasts, the Government is keen to take the dialogue process forward so that peace is restored in the norteastern region. The talks with the NSCN (I-M) have been stuck over the issue of ‘Nagalim’ or Greater Nagaland.

The Centre is also considering inviting NSCN leaders Isak Chishi Swu and Thuingaleng Muivah to India. This was also endorsed by Nagaland Chief Minister Neiphiu Rio, who today said that with the change in government at the Centre, the NSCN insurgents should be extended an invitation to come to India and meet the new leadership.

Rio also sought a role for himself in the peace process by saying that he favoured ‘‘direct talks’’ between the state and the insurgent group as it was Nagaland that had suffered 50 years of insurgency.

‘‘Those (the talks) can take place in Bangkok or wherever,’’ Rio said, adding that he had made this suggestion to Home Minister Shivraj Patil during his meeting with him today. Patil, he said, was receptive to the idea.

Hoping to meet the NSCN (I-M) leaders in Bangkok soon, the Nagaland Chief Minister said that he wanted an early settlement and ‘‘things are moving fast’’. Sources, however, said that there was no move yet for a meeting between the state leadership and the Naga insurgents.

‘‘Nobody from the state government is going with Padmanabhaiah this time. In all likelihood, the Director of Intelligence Bureau, A.K. Doval, will be accompanying him,’’ sources in the Home Ministry disclosed today.

When asked whether he favoured direct talks with Swu and Muivah or in the presence of the Centre’s pointsman, Rio said that his role would only be that of a facilitator. ‘‘It is not the right time to go into the details,’’ he added.

The Nagaland Chief Minister also briefed the Home Minister about the ongoing investigations into the recent Dimapur blasts and said that it appeared to be the handiwork of the ISI or the ULFA.

Rio said that the involvement of the Naga underground group had been ruled out. According to sources, the insurgents were assisting the state in the blasts’ probe.

Source: The Indian Express