Naga peace talks: Governor Ravi hits out at I-M over demand for separate flag, Constitution
In his speech on the eve of the 58th Statehood Day of Nagaland on Tuesday, Ravi said, “The Government of India is absolutely clear that there is and shall be only one National Flag and Constitution in India. Anyone talking anything contrary is peddling preposterous lies. They are trying to confuse and mislead the people.”
On August 11, the NSCN-IM had alleged that Ravi was involved in "mischief" and that he has become a "liability".
Nagaland Governor RN Ravi, who is also the Centre’s interlocutor for the ongoing Naga peace talks, has ruled out the possibility of a separate flag and constitution for the community — a major bone of contention between the NSCN (I-M), the most influential Naga outfit and the government.
In his speech on the eve of the 58th Statehood Day of Nagaland on Tuesday, Ravi said, “The Indian National Flag and Constitution are the pride of the people of India. The Government of India is absolutely clear that there is and shall be only one National Flag and Constitution in India. Anyone talking anything contrary is peddling preposterous lies. They are trying to confuse and mislead the people.”
He also said that the Centre has “never ever talked, much less negotiated” on the issue of territorial integrity and sovereignty of the country with anyone. “Any misadventure to disintegrate this great nation shall not be tolerated,” he said.
The Indian Express reported earlier that sensing a growing strain in ties between Ravi and the NSCN (I-M), the Centre called the leadership of the Naga outfit to Delhi to continue dialogue with senior Intelligence Bureau officials.
The NSCN(I-M) has held on to its demand of a separate flag and constitution, whereas the NNPG — an umbrella body of seven other insurgent groups of Nagaland in talks with the Centre — and civil society groups have maintained that they are agreeable to a solution without the separate flag and constitution.
The NSCN (I-M) had said earlier that Ravi “created imbroglio in the talk process” in the light of which Prime Minister Narendra Modi had given mandate to continue peace talks with the Intelligence Bureau.
“Naga political issue belongs to the Naga people,” said Ravi in his speech, adding, “No single entity should claim the sole franchise over it.”
Ravi added, “The traditional village institutions and the tribal bodies are the primary stakeholders in the Naga political issue…They have clearly expressed their mind. They demand conclusion of the endless Peace-Process without any further delay. They want end of the gun- culture…”
“Being disrespectful to the primary stakeholders is an insult to the people of Nagaland. Any attempt to intimidate or threaten them will invite the wrath of the people and full might of the laws of the land,” he said.
Last month, senior Assam minister Himanta Biswa Sarma, who is also the BJP’s key leader in the Northeast, was asked about the progress in the talks at The Indian Express’s Idea Exchange session. Also involved in the Naga peace talks, Sarma said that a “team of officers”, under the supervision of Home Minister Amit Shah were in talks with Thuingaleng Muivah, the general secretary of the NSCN (I-M).
“The discussions are positive and both sides have realised that they need to accommodate each other. But, at the same time, we should not expect a dramatic outcome. This will take time and will be discussed in a friendly atmosphere. There is no breakdown of the Naga peace talks,” Sarma said.