Nagalim: Angry NSCN(IM) leaders postpone New Delhi visit
Guwahati, Nov 24 (IANS) A fragile peace in Nagaland has been threatened, with a frontline separatist group Wednesday postponing a visit to New Delhi by their leaders who are accusing the Indian government of arming a rival faction. The National Socialist Council of Nagaland (NSCN) led by Isak Chishi Swu and Thuingaleng Muivah were to visit India from Sunday at the invitation of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh for furthering the peace negotiations with New Delhi. The two have been operating out of Southeast Asia for 37 years.
"The visit is more or less postponed and the peace talks could be under threat due to the Indian government's double standards," NSCN(IM) spokesman Kraibo Chawang told IANS by telephone from Nagaland's commercial hub Dimapur.The rebels accuse New Delhi of arming cadres of the rival Naga National Council (NNC) to fight the NSCN.
"We have concrete evidence to prove that the government of India has provided 60 to 70 self-loading rifles to the armed wing of NNC to fight our cadres in (the state's) Phek area and that in itself is a very nasty game played by New Delhi," Chawang said.Indian peace negotiator K. Padmanabhaiah has denied the allegations. The NNC was formed in 1947 under the leadership of the legendary guerrilla leader Angami Z. Phizo. A few leaders led by Muivah broke away from the NNC to form the NSCN in 1980. Phizo's daughter Adino is now leading the NNC from her self-imposed exile in London.
"We are not satisfied with the clarification given by Padmanabhaiah, and our leaders will not visit India until we get a convincing reply," the NSCN leader said. The last round of talks was held at Bangkok in October. It was the second meeting between the NSCN and peace emissary Padmanabhaiah since the Congress-led government in New Delhi took power in May. The NSCN(IM) leader also accused New Delhi of trying to "give an upper hand" to its rival faction headed by guerrilla leader S.S. Khaplang.
"Some NSCN (Khaplang) leaders were being flown into New Delhi by the government. This is nothing but an attempt at magnifying their status when peace talks are going on with our group," Chawang said.
"Now even if our collective leaders arrive in New Delhi there cannot be any forward movement in the talks. Hence our decision to put the visit on hold until we get a formal clarification from the Indian government."
The NSCN(IM) entered a ceasefire with New Delhi in 1997, and the two sides have since held talks in Switzerland, France, Italy, the Netherlands, Thailand, Japan and Malaysia. The NSCN is the most powerful of the nearly 30-odd rebel armies operating in the northeast. More than 25,000 people have lost their lives to insurgency in Nagaland since 1947, according to various official estimates.