Right Time To Sign Naga Peace Accord: Himanta Biswa Sarma To NSCN(IM)

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 Himanta Biswa Sarma To NSCN(IM)

The entire northeast is looking forward to the peace accord, Himanta Biswa Sarma said (File)

The Centre has worked out an honourable solution that goes along with the unique history and traditions of the Naga society and it is the right time for the NSCN (IM) - an armed Naga group - to sign the final peace accord, Assam minister Himanta Biswa Sarma said on Tuesday.

Talking to NDTV on the sidelines of a press conference at Guwahati on Tuesday, Mr Sarma said that he, along with Nagaland Chief Minister Neiphiu Rio, have conveyed the opinion and sentiments of the people of northeast to the NSCN(IM) leadership that the region feels it is time to ink the final deal.

"The Centre is working towards a final solution which goes along the unique history and traditions of the Naga society. I strongly feel if the Naga leadership wants to sign the accord then this is the right time. I once again appeal to them that they should sign the agreement and lead Nagaland to a durable solution. The entire northeast is looking forward to it," he said.

Mr Sarma, along with Mr Rio, have been entrusted by the Centre to assist in clearing the deadlock in the peace process after NSCN(IM) hardened its stand on the contentious demands of a separate Naga flag and constitution, and the removal of the interlocutor, Nagaland Governor RN Ravi.

Mr Sarma further added that a solution should be ideally 'inclusive' and NSCN(IM) should spearhead it.

"Why think of a solution without NSCN(IM)? After all it was the NSCN(IM) that was in the forefront of the process and I don't see any reason why NSCN(IM) will not align with the thought process of the Naga civil society, even with the Centre's thought process. So, I am very confidence that this parleys with NSCN (IM) will eventually be successful," he added.

Mr Sarma's comments come ahead of the crucial consultative meeting called by the Nagaland government with civil society groups and other stake holders on October 15. This is for the first time after the Rio government came to power in 2018 that such major consultative meeting is being convened.

"In the agreement which needs to be signed, there is some much of sensitivities involved. We feel there has been a combination of efforts and thus, there is involvement of politicians, bureaucrats and even civil society; the Centre is involving all whenever necessary on a daily basis to iron out the deadlock," Mr Sarma added, indicating that while the Centre has continued informal discussion with NSCN(IM) leadership through the Intelligence Bureau (IB), it is also trying to build up momentum for an 'escalated level' of talks by involving individuals and groups beyond the interlocutor.

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