IMPHAL, May 29: An Agartala datelined story in the popular daily, The Telegraph, Kolkata, by its Tripura correspondent, Sekhar Datta, said the NSCN(IM) is ready for concluding a truce with the Government of India after 17 years of holding ceasefire to facilitate peace negotiations.
The report which quoted “a senior Intelligence Bureau, IB, official said the agreement is fashioned along the lines Mizoram bought its peace nearly three decades ago.
The report went further to say that “as part of the formula, NSCN (Isak-Muivah) chairman Isak Chishi Swu — and not general secretary Thuingaleng Muivah — will become the chief minister of Nagaland, taking along some of his close followers in the council of ministers, and will face fresh elections within six months”.
(Imphal based Newmai News Service, in a Dimapur datelined story however said a prominent but unnamed NSCN(IM) leader refuted the veracity of the claims of the Telegraph report calling it absurd in an interview to the news service.)
The Telegraph report quoted the IB official as saying the proposal by central interlocutors was being fine-tuned after which it would be submitted to Prime Minister Narendra Modi and home minister Rajnath Singh.
It further quoted the source that Neiphiu Rio will further have a key role in finalising the matter.
It said “Rio, who resigned as the chief minister of Nagaland in the second year of his third term in office, has already been elected to the Lok Sabha. He is likely to be included in the Union council of ministers in the next reshuffle of the NDA government. It is believed that his chosen successor T.R. Zeliang will resign to pave the way for assumption of power by the NSCN (I-M) leaders.”
The Telegraph report further claimed the “official said Rio, an influential Angami Naga leader, had all along been a votary of peaceful settlement to Nagaland’s insurgency problem. He had been upset with former chief minister S.C. Jamir’s attempts at scuttling the peace talks and had also resigned from the Congress in 2002.”
The report further said Rio floated the Naga People’s Front (NPF) and with other regional parties and the BJP, formed the Democratic Alliance of Nagaland, which won Assembly elections thrice in 2003, 2008 and 2013. Before the 2013 Assembly elections, Rio had said all 60 members of the Nagaland Assembly had offered to quit to pave the way for a settlement.
The reporter further quoted the IB official as saying Rio “resigned as chief minister and contested the Lok Sabha polls only to help the process of peace.”
The tripartite Mizoram Peace Accord was signed by then Union home secretary R.D. Pradhan, late Mizo National Front (MNF) leader Laldenga and then Mizoram chief secretary Lalkhama on June 30, 1986. Following the accord and as per a tacit understanding, Mizoram chief minister Lal Thanhawla, who headed a Congress government, resigned, paving the way for assumption of power by Laldenga and his colleagues, who were required to face Assembly polls within six months. Laldenga won the Assembly polls held in February 1987. That had put an end to the two-decade-old insurgency in Mizoram and peace still prevails in the state.