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2015: Deal safeguards identity
Aug 27 2015
Peace deal: Nagas to get special identity
When the Narendra Modi government signed the peace accord with Naga insurgent group Nationalist Socialist Council of Nagaland (Isak-Muivah) on August 3, 2015, at the Prime Minister's residence, it was decided that boundaries of the present state of Nagaland were not going to be altered, according to top sources. The accord between the Centre and the NSCN (I-M) has been signed on the basis of agreement on a “broad framework“ and the detailed conditions are expected to be finalized in “three to four months“, according to sources involved in the process.
There are two broad issues on which there is agreement and within whose framework conditions between the two sides will be drawn out.
One, the acknowledgment by the NSCN (I-M) to be part of the Indian system, which is an indirect way of accepting the fact that it has given up its demand for sovereignty . This is being considered by the Centre as a major achievement.
Secondly , the NSCN (I-M) leadership has agreed that “violence is not the path to take“ and hence they will be surrendering their arms.When exactly this will happen is part of the detail that is being worked out.
On the other side, one of the main demands from the Naga leadership is for a “special identity for the Naga people.“ The government is working on this “special identity“ of Naga people, which will also have to devise a way to include those Nagas who live outside of the geographical territory of Nagaland.
The “special identity“ will be based on history and culture of the people. The government is actually working on what will constitute the “cultural and traditional rights“ of Nagas, according to sources, and those intricacies are taking time to be formulated. Once that is done, the detailed conditions of the accord will be laid on the table.
The signing of the pact on August 3, was the culmination of over 80 rounds of negotiations between the two sides that spanned 16 years with first breakthrough in 1997 when the ceasefire agreement was sealed.