Center hopeful Naga solution by year end: Pillai

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By Oken Jeet Sandham/NEPS DELHI, Apr 17 (NEPS): The Government of India is hopeful of seeing solution to the over-60-year-old Naga political issue by the year end. Talks between the Government of India and the NSCN (IM) have also progressed a lot and to realize this dream (solution by year end), the people of Nagaland should also do a lot of homework, GK Pillai, Home Secretary to the Government of India, told to Oken Jeet Sandham, NEPS Editor, during a discussion here at national capital, Delhi. The Home Secretary expressed his deep happiness on the substantial progress made to the peace process between the Center and the NSCN IM).

He said NSCN (IM) General Secretary Thuingaleng Muivah while in Nagaland made statement that there was substantial progress in the talks with the Government of India. On his return to Delhi, the discussions resumed with Center’s interlocutor RS Pandey. Pandey had been engaging in rounds of discussions with the leaderships of the NSCN (IM). “We are happy that there has been substantial progress in the peace process,” Pillai stated.

When asked about any timeframe for solution to the Naga issue, the Home Secretary said, “We are negotiating with the NSCN (IM) and can’t say details of it.” The Center’s interlocutor was seriously engaging in negotiations with NSCN (IM) leaderships and also Muivah was making statement about the substantial progress in the talks while in Nagaland.

“We have confidence in them and are happy with the progress,” he said.

But to realize this dream, they also depended much on the negotiations between the Center and the NSCN (IM), while at home in Nagaland, people also should do a lot of homework, he asserted. So that the peace process would move forward and expediting. With these efforts and the momentum at the moment, it was hoped that the solution to the protracted Naga issue would be found by the year end,” the Home Secretary asserted. Asked if the Center would take into account the States of the region where the Nagas inhabit before entering into final settlement, Pillai said these states would be consulted before entering into any final settlement to the Naga issue. “Everybody wants solution not only in Nagaland,” he said stressing that the “basic aim is that they have to strike a harmony and bring honorable settlement to the issue.” On Niephiu Rio Government’s facilitating role to the peace process, the Home Secretary said, “We think they (Neiphiu Rio Government) can do much more than that.” He further explained that the Nagaland Government remained neutral, watching the Government of India and NSCN (IM) talks. “I think they should (State Government) involve in the process,” he stated. Asked when the Center would start talks with the NSCN (K) which also had ceasefire with them since 2001, Pillai said, “We are waiting right opportunity and will do (talks) at the correct time.” “After a little bit of progress with the NSCN (IM) from the present stage, we shall start talks with NSCN (K) including State Government of Nagaland with fully in picture,” he revealed. Pillai also expressed unhappiness on the recent spurt of factional violence claiming lives in both sides. In last two years, factional clashes came down to “zero,” but in last few months, this ghost of factional clashes resurfaced, even in loss of lives in both sides, he said terming it as “unfortunate.” He, however, hoped that better sense would prevail soon. Any difference should be resolved through dialogue not through violence, he asserted. On the ENPO’s demand of separate “Frontier Nagaland,” Pillai said, “This is rather for the people of Nagaland to have a discussion and not anything with the Government of India to do so.” The Home Secretary, however, admitted that the Government of India had received the memorandum from the ENPO demanding for a separate statehood as “Frontier Nagaland” by carving out four districts—Tuensang, Mon, Longleng and Kiphire. He further disclosed that they already sent the matter to the State Government of Nagaland. “We have not received any response from them so far,” he stated. The ENPO pointed out discrimination as main point for demanding separate statehood. Pillai said if such issue was there, the State Government should solve it with the people of this region.

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