Guwahati, Jan 24: Naga insurgent group NSCN-IM has opposed the holding of assembly elections in Nagaland saying the forthcoming polls will "undermine" ongoing peace talks with the central government and a "serious obstacle" in finding an early political solution. The 60-member Nagaland Assembly will go to polls on February 27.
In a statement, the NSCN-IM, which has engaged in peace negotiations with the Centre's interlocutor since 1997, said the "imposition" of assembly elections is not acceptable to the Naga people who are for an early negotiated political settlement.
"Therefore, those who advocate for the imposed election does not stand for the interest of the Naga people. We are seriously critical of such people or group as they do not contribute towards finding lasting political solution," the National Socialist Council of Nagaland (Isak-Muivah) said.
The Naga group said the decision taken by the Centre and Election Commission to hold polls is bound to undermine the progress of the ongoing talks between the NSCN-IM and the central government and become a serious obstacle towards finding an early political solution.
"We, therefore, reiterate our position for an early solution that will usher in peace in the whole subcontinent and the Government of India must exercise political will and take steps accordingly," it said.
The NSCN-IM said the Nagas have sincerely come "very close" to political solution appreciating the steps taken by the Government of India in seeking a political solution and leaving aside military solution.
"Subsequently, after nearly five years of political negotiation in 2002, the Government of India officially recognised the unique history and situation of the Nagas and on August 3, 2015, the framework of agreement was signed between the NSCN and the Government of India in the presence of the prime minister (Narendra Modi)," it said.
Expectations for a lasting peace have soared in insurgency-hit Nagaland after signing of the framework agreement in 2015.
The NSCN-IM has been engaging in peace talks with the Centre's interlocutor since 1997 when it announced a ceasefire agreement after a bloody insurgency movement that began shortly after the country's independence.
The insurgent group's key demand to integrate the Naga-inhabited areas of Arunachal Pradesh, Assam and Manipur have already been rejected by the central government.