NSCN(IM) drops demand for merging areas with Nagaland
The government for its part has expressed its willingness for “some special arrangement” for the Nagas in the three states.
This was disclosed by Special Naga Interlocutor R N Ravi to the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Home Affairs, whose report tabled in Parliament last week provided the first glimpse of the broad contours of a secret framework agreement signed by the Centre and NSCN(IM). The pact was signed on August 3, 2015 in the presence of Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
In its report, the panel headed by former Home Minister P Chidambaram said the interlocutor has apprised the committee about the broad status of the negotiations, which were "proceeding towards a situation where the boundaries of any state will neither be changed or altered".
The non-Naga communities in the three states were opposed to any merger of the Naga areas with Nagaland, while the report said Ravi told them that initially, the Nagas had "stuck to the idea of unification of Naga-inhabited areas, resolutely maintaining their stand of 'no integration, no solution'".
"However, they had now reached a common understanding with the government that boundaries will not be touched. Instead, some special arrangement would be made for the Nagas, wherever they are. The negotiations are going on over some symbolic issues, which are sensitive to both the government and the Nagas," the panel quoted Ravi as saying.
Ravi also said the contours of the agreement had not been spelt out in the framework agreement. The framework agreement was "just about" the recognition of the uniqueness of Naga history by the Centre and an understanding that "inclusive settlement will be within the Indian federation with due regard to the uniqueness of Naga history," he said.
Specifically asked what special arrangements could mean, Ravi said that Article 371-A of the Constitution accords special status to Nagaland and a "similar kind of status, with some local variation, to the Nagas in the neighbouring states can be explored".
However, the panel said that the delay in concluding the talks on Naga Accord is making the Naga groups "restless" and warned that it could "harm whatever progress" has been achieved so far.
It also advised the government to keep in mind the historical dynamics of insurgency and reminded that the most important aspect of any agreement with insurgents is the adequate rehabilitation and settlement programme for the cadres of insurgent outfits.