Muivah hints at 2012 relief from centre

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NEW DELHI, Dec 14 (agencies): The NSCN (Isak-Muivah) may have missed the Christmas gift of a hammered out solution but Naga rebel leader Thuingaleng Muivah today did not rule out relief in the New Year.

The NSCN general secretary, along with chairman Isak Chishi Swu and their aides, called on Union home minister P. Chidambaram this afternoon.

This is a pre-Christmas meeting before Swu and Muivah leave for Nagaland to spend time for at least a few weeks and hold meetings with tribal organisations.

They leave for Dimapur and onward to the NSCN’s Camp Hebron on December 17.

Speaking to The Telegraph after the meeting, Muivah conceded that there have indeed been some “confusion” in the recent past but added it has been “thrashed out”.

“Misunderstandings have been thrashed out. There is better understanding, that is all I can say,” he said after the 42-minute meeting in North Block. But he ruled out any “Christmas gift”.

About the possibility of an interim solution in the New Year, he said: “There can be expectation, though it is difficult to say.”

He, however, refused to reveal the nature of the solution.

Interlocutor for Naga talks, R.S. Pandey, who also attended the meeting, said: “There is nothing to announce yet.”

Following reports on the “special status” which suggested special rights for Nagas in states where there was Naga population, there were protests in Manipur valley which perceives threat to its territorial integrity.

Prime Minister Singh assured Manipur during his December 3 visit to Imphal that the state’s territorial integrity would be protected.

That, in turn, peeved the NSCN (I-M) which seems to have thought that its proposal of “shared autonomy” has again fallen flat.

It was to clarify some of these road blocks that Isak and Muivah had proposed to meet Singh who was occupied in the winter session of Parliament. Hence, the meeting with Chidambaram.

Emerging from the meeting, the Naga leaders appeared contented. The concept of shared autonomy was presented by the NSCN (I-M) at the meeting of reconciliation at Chiangmai in Thailand in November. This was, however, not accepted by the other groups like National Naga Council and NSCN (Khole-Kitovi) which participated in the negotiation sponsored by the Forum for Naga Reconciliation.

Sources in the ministry of home affairs iterated that any proposal that affected a particular state cannot be taken forward unless the state in question is taken into confidence.

Therefore, in case of a solution to the Naga problem, Assam and Manipur need to be consulted before the Centre signs on the dotted line.

Delhi, on the other hand, continues to tread on a tightrope as it needs to balance the aspirations of communities living together in Manipur.

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