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No separate flag, Constitution for Nagas; talks can't be held under shadow of guns: Nagaland Governor RN Ravi

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Times Now
19th October, 2019 16:08 IST

New Delhi: The Centre has ruled out a separate flag and Constitution for the Nagas as demanded by the NSCN-IM, and made it clear that the endless negotiations with the insurgent group under the shadow of guns is not acceptable. Interlocutor for the Naga talks and Nagaland Governor R N Ravi also said that the central government is determined to conclude the decades-long peace process without delay.

In a statement, Ravi said a mutually agreed draft comprehensive settlement, including all the substantive issues and competencies, is ready for inking the final agreement.

"Unfortunately at this auspicious juncture, the NSCN-IM has adopted a procrastinating attitude to delay the settlement raising the contentious symbolic issues of separate Naga national flag and constitution on which they are fully aware of the government of India's position," the statement, issued last night, read.

Ravi's statement bears significance as the central government on August 5 announced abrogation of special status given to Jammu and Kashmir under Article 370 and bifurcated the state into Union territories.

With the annulment of the special status, the separate flag and the Constitution of Jammu and Kashmir cease to exist. The ruling BJP, Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Union Home Minister Amit Shah on many occasions had made it clear that they believe in only one flag and one Constitution for whole India.

Ravi said the NSCN-IM has "mischievously" dragged in the Framework Agreement and began imputing imaginary contents to it. The framework agreement was signed on August 3, 2015 by NSCN-IM general secretary Thuingaleng Muivah and the government's interlocutor Ravi in presence of Prime Minister Modi.

Ravi said in the statement that some NSCN-IM leaders through various media platforms are misleading the people with "absurd assumptions and presumptions" over what they have already agreed with the Government of India.

In view of such unfortunate attitude of some NSCN-IM leaders, Ravi held a detailed consultation meeting with the primary stakeholders of the Naga society on October 18 in Kohima.

The meeting was attended by the apex leadership of all the 14 Naga tribes of Nagaland, all the minority non-Naga tribes of Nagaland, the Nagaland Gaon Burha Federation, the Nagaland Tribes Council, church leaders and civil society organisations.

The framework agreement with the (NSCN-IM) and the agreed position with the working committee of Naga National Political Groups were extensively shared with the leaders, pertinent issues discussed and doubts on competencies clarified.

Political maturity and wisdom of the Naga leaders who expressed their overwhelming support in favour of a settlement without any further delay is deeply appreciated, the statement said.

"Respecting the Naga people's wishes, the Government of India is determined to conclude the peace process without delay. Endless negotiation under the shadow of guns is not acceptable," it said.

The Government of India expect all negotiating parties to heed the will of the people, and facilitate conclusion of the Naga peace process within the stipulated time, it said.

The framework agreement came after over 80 rounds of negotiations spanning 18 years, with the first breakthrough made in 1997 when the ceasefire agreement was sealed after decades of insurgency in Nagaland which started soon after India's independence in 1947.

Ravi said the Government of India under the dynamic and decisive leadership of Modi has been determined and diligent to honourably conclude the Naga peace process, which has been going on for the last over 22 years.

As a result, the Naga peace process, in the last five years, has become truly inclusive and reached the conclusion stage. All Naga armed groups are engaged with the Government of India's interlocutor and have worked out the draft final settlement.

Primary stakeholders -- tribal and civil society organisations from Nagaland, Manipur, Arunachal Pradesh and Assam -- were involved in the peace process and made valuable contributions through regular consultations and insightful inputs, the statement said.

The church leaders with their constant prayers and goodwill have immensely contributed to the cause of enduring peace. "It is a matter of great satisfaction that agreements -- with NSCN-IM on August 3, 2015 and with seven Naga armed groups under the banner of Working Committee (WC) of Naga National Political Groups (NNPGs) on November 17, 2017 -- on the political parameters of the settlement were signed," the statement said. 

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