Nagalim: NSCN Threatens to Pull Out of Ceasefire
"The objective of having the ceasefire is to find a permanent solution. There is no meaning in simply extending the truce," said RH Raising, a senior leader of the Isak-Muivah faction of the National Socialist Council of Nagaland (NSCN-IM).
"People are getting impatient and anything may happen if the ceasefire breaks down at this stage," Raising said.
The NSCN, led by guerrilla leaders Isak Chishi Swu and Thuingaleng Muivah, had entered into a ceasefire with New Delhi in August 1997. It is to expire on Jan 31.
Minister of State for Overseas Indian Affairs Oscar Fernandes had said in New Delhi that he would hold talks with the NSCN-IM leadership in Bangkok after Jan 26 in an attempt to extend the ceasefire. Dates for the talks are yet to be finalised but it is expected to take place between Jan 27 and 31.
"If the Indian government has some definite plans to solve
the problem and we find their attitude positive, the ceasefire could be extended,"
the rebel leader said. "We need to wait and see how the Indian government
The two sides have held at least 50 rounds of peace talks to end the insurgency that has claimed an estimated 25,000 lives since 1947.
The NSCN, the most powerful of about 30 rebel groups in the
northeast, wants to create a 'Greater Nagaland' out of Nagaland by slicing off
parts of neighbouring states that have Naga tribal population.
The governments of Assam, Manipur, and Arunachal Pradesh have already rejected the NSCN-IM's demand for unification of Naga-dominated areas.
"Simply prolonging the talks and extending the ceasefire
would create doubts in the minds of the Naga people," Raising said. "We
trust the leadership of India but we need to see if they are really sincere
in fulfilling the commitments and assurances given to us."