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Demand for flag, constitution for Nagas due to framework agreement: Naga Hoho

Press Trust of India  |  New Delhi 

The Naga Hoho, the apex body of all Naga tribal groups, on Thursday claimed that the NSCN-IM has raised the demand for a separate flag and constitution on the basis of a framework agreement signed by the outfit with the Centre's interlocutor in 2015 in the presence of Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

Naga Hoho President H K Zhimomi also said unless some magic happens, the current round of talks between the top leadership of the NSCN-IM and Centre's interlocutor and Nagaland Governor R N Ravi, is unlikely to bring any results.

"The demand for a separate flag and a constitution for the Nagas were raised on the basis of the framework agreement signed in 2015. The agreement acknowledged that there are two separate entities. The two entities can co-exist. That is why we demand that the framework agreement should be published. Everything will be clear then," he told PTI over phone from Nagaland.

The framework agreement was signed on August 3, 2015 by NSCN-IM general secretary Thuingaleng Muivah and interlocutor Ravi in presence of the prime minister.

In a statement, on August 18, Ravi had said the central government was determined to conclude the ongoing Naga peace process without delay and asserted that endless negotiation under the shadow of guns was not acceptable.

Ravi said the NSCN-IM has "mischievously" dragged in the framework agreement and began imputing imaginary contents to it.

A mutually agreed draft comprehensive settlement, including all the substantive issues and competencies, is ready for inking the final agreement, he said.

"Unfortunately at this auspicious juncture, the NSCN-IM has adopted a procrastinating attitude to delay the settlement raising the contentious symbolic issues of separate Naga national flag and constitution on which they are fully aware of the government of India's position," Ravi said.

Ravi statement's bears significance in view of the central government's August 5 announcement abrogating the special status given to Jammu and Kashmir under Article 370. With the annulment of the special status, the separate flag and the Constitution of Jammu and Kashmir cease to exist.

The Naga Hoho president said "historically Kashmiris are Indians, but Nagas are Nagas and Nagas were forced to be part of British India".

Zhimomi cautioned the government that unless and until all Naga organisations come together and give consent for an agreement, a lasting solution to the vexed insurgency problem will not be possible.

"I don't think so, unless some magic happens. Unless and until both parties agree with each other, how can there be an agreement," he said replying a question on whether the Naga Hoho is expecting some breakthrough in the current round of talks being held here on Thursday.

The Naga Hoho president said the government "should not apply force" to conclude the agreement and the Nagas will not give up their rights.

"We are the facilitator and we believe that the problem should be resolved," he said.

Zhimomi said till all Naga groups come together, any agreement on the Naga issue will not serve any purpose and not end the problem.

The Naga Hoho president also referred to the NSCN-IM's demand for unification of Naga inhabited areas -- located in Manipur, Arunachal Pradesh and Assam.

"The agreement should not only include the Nagas of Nagaland but the Nagas of everywhere. Muivah is the principal negotiator and he is from Manipur. How can you exclude his land. How is it possible," he said.

The central government had already rejected the demand and the three Northeastern states also vehemently opposed to it.

The framework agreement came after over 80 rounds of negotiations spanning 18 years, with the first breakthrough made in 1997 when the ceasefire agreement was sealed after decades of insurgency in Nagaland which started soon after India's independence in 1947.

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Thu, October 24 2019. 18:55 IST
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