It was called to end the impasse in talks between the Centre and NSCN(IM).
The Opposition parties in Nagaland skipped the meeting that the Neiphiu Rio government convened on Thursday with political parties, traditional tribal bodies, students’ groups and NGOs for catalysing a solution to the Naga political issue.
The People’s Democratic Alliance (PDA) government headed by the Nationalist Democratic Progressive Party had called the meeting in a bid to end the impasse in the peace talks between the Centre and the Isak-Muivah faction of the National Socialist Council of Nagaland, or NSCN(IM).
The NSCN (IM) has not wavered from its demands for a separate “Naga national flag” and “Naga constitution,” while seven rival groups that came together as the Naga National Political Groups (NNPGs) have virtually reached an agreement with the Centre on all outstanding issues.
“The peace talks have concluded with all groups and Governor R.N. Ravi [also the Centre’s representative] has already met all tribal bodies, civil society organisations and political parties. Rio did not feel the need to consult anyone during the 17 years he has ruled as the Chief Minister. So, attending this meeting would have been a waste of time,” said State Congress president K. Therie.
Some organisations, including the Naga Hoho, the apex organisation of all Naga tribes, were unhappy with the outcome of the meeting. “We did not have enough time to place our views on the need for unity among the Nagas. But it seems no one likes to be united,” Naga Hoho president H.K. Zhimomi said.
Apart from the Congress, the Naga People’s Front (NPF) and the Janata Dal (United) also skipped the meeting.
The NPF, too, felt that the meeting was “meaningless”. NPF president Shurhozelie Liezietsu said the PDA was trying to create “confusion” when the Centre was not keen on a piecemeal settlement.
“We formed the Political Affairs Mission after withdrawing from the Joint Legislators’ Forum [for taking the peace process forward] some time ago. Through the mission, we are trying to hold a joint meeting of all the extremist groups,” he said.
“We told both organisations that the Government of India will go for only one settlement and not separate deals. So, it would be in the interest of the Naga people that they discuss all issues face to face,” Mr Liezietsu said.
Leaders of the Naga Mothers’ Association also said the meeting did not up to their expectations.
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