Nagalim: Centre May Invite North-East Leadership to Talks Table
Mr Fernandes, who heads the GoM entrusted with the responsibility to hold political level talks with the Naga leadership, is back from Bangkok where he held five sessions of discussions with them. He will be briefing the Prime Minister next week on the issue. There are already indications that the talks have ended on a positive note with both sides agreeing to a “step by step’’ approach to address the vexed Naga issue.
NSCN (I-M) general secretary Thuingaleng Muivah, who was accompanied by a 12- member team at Bangkok, is now preparing a non-official paper on the proposed relationship that Nagaland can have with the Centre. He will present the paper at the next round of talks. There have been indications that the Naga proposal moots a federal structure as the framework for Nagaland-Centre relationship.
It is on this issue that Mr Fernandes and his team want to secure the views of political leaders and groups of different northeastern states.
Mr Muivah, in fact, was eager to continue the discussions in the first week of November itself. However, government negotiators said this would be difficult given that the UPA leadership would be engaged with the Bihar assembly polls.
The NSCN has been seeking a ’Greater Nagaland’ through unification of Naga dominated areas in the northeast, a demand strongly opposed by Manipur, Assam and Arunachal Pradesh.
The Naga leadership, however, were somewhat skeptical about
the utility of the ongoing cease-fire in Nagaland. This view was voiced in the
context of the killing of three NSCN (IM) cadre including a “Colonel’’
by Meghalaya police. Raising it at the Bangkok meeting, the NSCN leadership
demanded that their representatives be part of the team conducting an inquiry
into the deaths.