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NSCN(I-M) Releases to PM about holding talks in “Third Country”

The National Socialist Council of Nagaland (IM), an armed Naga group that has been engaged in peace talks with the central government, on Monday said it had written to Prime Minister Narendra Modi in February and had offered to hold talks abroad if its “stay in India is no more welcome”.

In the eight-page “confidential” letter, highly critical of the interlocutor and Nagaland Governor, RN Ravi, and the Ministry of Home Affairs, the group had also pressed for its contentious demands of having separate Naga flag and constitution. The outfit claims it hasn’t received a response from the Prime Minister’s Office.

“Seven (7) months back, Muivah (general secretary Thuingaleng Muivah) dispatched a letter to the Prime Minister of India. We deliberately withheld the letter from releasing to the media for public consumption as we waited with all confidence that the Prime Minister of India will respond positively. Today, NSCN(IM) being accountable to the Naga people hereby released the letter to inform of the delay and the lack of response from the office of the Indian Prime Minister to our people,” an NSCN(IM) statement read.

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The group had alleged in the letter that there had been efforts to downgrade the talks from the highest level of political dialogue.
“Today, we bring to your notice matters of serious concern regarding the activities of the ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) and its agencies including NIA and Assam Rifles. As you are well aware, 22 years of political negotiation had started at the highest, i.e Prime minister-level talks without precondition and talks outside India in third countries. We had come to India on the invitation of the Government of India. We are totally shocked and surprised that even after more than two decades of political negotiation, the MHA and its agencies have become obnoxious,” Thuingaleng Muivah had written.

“The latest episode of the MHA, which through a missive to the Nagaland government, questioned our presence in Dimapur. We are in Nagaland to meet our own people vis –a vis peace process…if our stay in India is no more welcome, all necessary arrangements must be made for us to leave India and the political talks be resumed in a third country,” he had added.
The group claimed it had agreed in 1997 to talk peace only after New Delhi had recognised the Naga issue as political and stopped terming it as India’s ‘internal law-and-order issue’.

In 2015, the Centre and the group had signed the framework agreement that would have set the competencies for a final solution. The peace deal, however, has not been achieved because of the outfit’s demands. The MHA is now continuing “informal talks” with NSCN(IM) through the Intelligence Bureau, government sources say.

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