GUWAHATI: Even as the stalemate in Naga talks continues, the Centre is sticking to its October 31 deadline towards finding a solution to the decades old Naga political problem. Hectic parleys continued for the second consecutive day on Tuesday with the Centre’s interlocutor and Governor RN Ravi holding separate talks with the NSCN-IM and a conglomerate of seven organisations, officials said.
Ravi, in a statement last week, said that a mutually agreed draft comprehensive settlement, including all the substantive issues, is ready for signing the final agreement. “The October 31 deadline will be met under any circumstances as promised earlier by Prime Minister Narendra Modi,” he had said.
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During his meeting with a delegation of the major insurgent group National Socialist Council of Nagalim (NSCN-IM), led by its general secretary Thuingaleng Muivah in New Delhi on Monday, Ravi had made it clear “the October 31 timeframe stands”.
The peace talks hit a roadblock as the NSCN-IM has remained non-flexible on its demands for a separate ‘Naga national flag’ and Naga ‘yezabo’ (constitution). The outfit claimed it was committed to the framework agreement that it signed with the central government on August 3, 2015, in New Delhi.
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The NSCN-IM confirmed there was no breakthrough on the twin demands. “There are no developments in the talks and the issues remain. Both sides will meet again today (Tuesday) evening,” the outfit’s army chief Anthony Shimray said.
Two days ago, he had said the October 31 deadline would be extended. Despite the interlocutor’s assertion, it looks unlikely that the Centre will sign the Naga pact minus the NSCN-IM. Till two years ago, it was only the NSCN-IM that was negotiating with the Centre on behalf of the Nagas in the Northeast.