With Naga insurgency settlement believed imminent, chorus erupts to defer Assembly elections

Amid buzz in Nagaland and parts of the Northeast that a settlement to the vexed Naga political problem, vis-à-vis Naga insurgency issue, is afoot, there is a demand now to defer Nagaland elections.

Published: 24th October 2017 01:30 AM  |   Last Updated: 24th October 2017 01:34 AM   |  A+A-

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Express News Service

GUWAHATI: Amid buzz in Nagaland and parts of the Northeast that a settlement to the vexed Naga political problem, vis-à-vis Naga insurgency issue, is afoot, there is now a demand from groups, besides a minister, to the Centre to defer Nagaland elections, due early next year.

State home minister Imkong L Imchen advocated deferment of the polls in case the solution to the protracted issue was round the corner. Sumi Hoho, a tribal organisation representing the Sumis (tribesmen), is on the same page on the issue.

The minister argued that there was no point holding the elections in case the solution to the problem was imminent.

"If the polls are conducted, the Centre will find it difficult to dismiss the newly-elected government to allow an alternative arrangement to take place for the sake of political settlement. I say this because the 60 MLAs may not be willing to vacate their seats," he said.

The Sumi Hoho placed the demand before R N Ravi, the Centre's interlocutor in the Naga peace talks, Monday. It said imposing the polls at such a crucial juncture could lead to difference of opinion and mar the ongoing peace talks.

"The forthcoming election may be deferred so that smooth transition to any alternative arrangement can take place," the organisation told Ravi.

Meanwhile, 20 years since the Isak-Muivah faction of major insurgent group National Socialist Council of Nagaland (NSCN-IM) entered into a ceasefire, the first-ever peace talks in Nagaland was held at Chumukedima in Dimapur district Monday.

The Centre's interlocutor held separate closed-door meetings with six insurgent groups, which came on board recently by joining the peace negotiations, and various Naga social organisations. Not much was known about what transpired at the meetings but the rebel groups said, "Our meeting was beyond positive."

Sources said the tribal organisations insisted, among others, on an inclusive settlement. Only the SS Khaplang faction of the NSCN, widely known as NSCN-K, is outside the purview of talks. It had entered into a ceasefire in 2001 until abrogating it unilaterally in 2015.

The NSCN-IM, which is a major player in the ongoing negotiations, had signed a ceasefire agreement with the Centre in 1997 and since then, both sides have held over 80 rounds of peace parleys in New Delhi besides Thailand and The Netherlands.


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