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CM Neiphiu Rio says Naga political issue partially resolved


Kohima, Apr 13: Nagaland Chief Minister Neiphiu Rio said on Friday that the negotiating parties have resolved the "contentious matters" related to the age-old Naga political issue, but the "symbolic matters" continue to be a "stumbling block" in arriving at a final solution.

Nagaland Chief Minister Neiphiu Rio

"What I am aware of is that the contentious issues, such as 'Naga integration', have been resolved, but the symbolic issues are the actual stumbling block," Rio told reporters outside the State Civil Secretariat.

To a question on "Naga integration", Rio said the Centre has made it clear that Nagas have the "legitimate right" to be integrated, but a democratic process has to be followed.

"I am not going into details, but when one says symbolic issues it may refer to flags and passport," he said.

The Centre had signed a ceasefire agreement with the NSCN(IM) in 1997. Several rounds of peace talks were held between the two sides subsequently. A Framework Agreement between the Centre and the NSCN(IM) was signed on August 3, 2015, in presence of Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

Apart from the NSCN(M), six other Naga nationalist political groups (NNPGs) have joined the dialogue last year. With the NNPGs joining the talks now, all Naga groups need to make joint efforts to come up with a solution, Rio said. The Centre's representative and the Naga groups had initially decided to resolve all differences before the recently held Assembly elections, Rio said, adding that now, there is no certainty over the time they might take to "come to an understanding".

If the negotiating parties want a solution, they should "sort out the possibilities", the CM claimed. Asked whether any solution to the Naga political problem would be acceptable without the involvement of NSCN(K), another Naga group based in Myanmar, Rio said, "I am not the authority to speak about the matter."

I strongly feel that Nagas in India, spread across four states, should come together and Myanmar Nagas should seek a separate settlement. One country cannot take decisions for another country, he added.


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