Patil holds high-level meeting on Naga issue

April 16th, 2008 - 1:04 am ICT by admin  

New Delhi, April 15 (IANS) Home Minister Shivraj Patil Tuesday discussed how to take the dialogue forward with the Isak-Muivah faction of the National Socialist Council of Nagaland (NSCN-IM) after the dominant tribal separatist group expressed dissatisfaction over the delay in solving the Naga issue. The NSCN-IM accused a section of the government of deliberately prolonging the peace process by going back on their promises and strongly suggested a more positive approach.

The rebel group has submitted a detailed charter of demands to the government, including a separate constitution for Nagaland, a ‘new and unique’ relationship with New Delhi and unification of Naga-inhabited areas of Manipur, Arunachal Pradesh and Assam.

However, these three states have rejected this demand. The union government too has not made any commitment on the issue so far.

Among those who attended the meeting were union Minister Oscar Fernandes, who is playing a key role in restoring peace in Nagaland, principal interlocutor K. Padmanabhiah and Home Secretary Madhukar Gupta.

The NSCN-IM agreed to a ceasefire with the government in August 1997, which has been extended several times.

Over 60 rounds of talks have been held between the government’s emissaries and the NSCN-IM both in India and abroad to discuss matters like the extension of the ceasefire, the group’s demand for unification of Naga-inhabited areas and bitter clashes between rival Naga factions.

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