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NE states to be taken into confidence before final Naga pact

rajnath

New Delhi, Aug 7 : Amid mounting pressure from opposition Congress, the Government today sought to allay fears of neighbouring states of Nagaland by assuring them that they would be consulted before the final agreement with NSCN-IM was signed.

This was conveyed by Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh to Nagaland Chief Minister T R Zeliang who called on him here today.

“Before the final agreement is signed with the NSCN-IM Chief Ministers of Manipur, Assam and Arunachal Pradesh will be taken into confidence,” sources said quoting the Home Minister as having said to Zeliang during a 20 minute meeting here.

Singh told Zeliang that the Central government has made it clear to NSCN-IM that their main demand of integration of Naga inhabitated areas would not be met but more powers would be given to local bodies like autonomous district council, the sources said.

This comes at a time when Congress which rules all the three states protested for not having consulted the neighbouring states of Nagaland before signing the initial accord with NSCN-IM.

Congress President Sonia Gandhi had yesterday accused Narendra Modi government for “insulting” the three north eastern states, whose chief ministers belong to her party, as they were not taken into confidence before signing the agreement with NSCN-IM.

She charged the Modi dispensation with being “arrogant” in not briefing Congress chief ministers of Arunachal Pradesh, Manipur and Assam despite their states being “directly affected” by the pact.
The NSCN-IM, which had given up its original demand of sovereignty a few years ago, has been asking for integration of Naga inhabitated areas in Manipur, Arunachal Pradesh and Assam. All three states are opposed to the outfit’s demand.

Sources said the Home Minister explained to the Chief Minister that a framework has been laid in the Monday’s agreement and the final pact will be signed only after detailed discussions in coming months.

The agreement for peace has been put together after consultations with all stakeholders like Naga Hoho, Naga Students Federation, Naga Mothers Federation, the elected representative of Nagaland and Naga elected representatives of Manipur.

All stakeholders were involved because the government doesn’t want a repeat of the Shillong Accord of 1975 after which NSCN-IM chairman Isak Chishi Swu, general secretary Th Muivah broke away and formed a group.

Sources said micro details of the peace plan will have to be worked out and will take some more time but said government is willing to consider devolution of more powers to Nagaland legislature under article 371 A which is already in force.

Government is willing to consider autonomous Hill councils to help Nagas achieve cultural integration and have more say in how they are governed.

The Monday’s pact was signed in the presence of the Prime Minister, the Home Minister and National Security Adviser Ajit Doval by the outfit’s leader T Muivah and government’s interlocutor R N Ravi at the PM’s residence here.

PTI