In leaked letter to PM, Naga militant outfit proposed talks in third country

NSCN-IM on Monday released the letter, which it claims was sent to PM Modi in February, after it elicited no response  

The letter written by NSCN-IM general secretary Thuingaleng Muivah had reiterated its demand for a separate Naga flag and constitution. Photo: PTI

Revealing contents of a “confidential” letter, reportedly sent to Prime Minister Narendra Modi in February, The Nationalist Socialist Council of Nagaland (NSCN-IM), one of the prominent armed naga groups engaged in peace talks with the government, has said that it had proposed to initiate the political talks in a third country if its stay in India was not welcome.

A statement released by the organization said that it decided to release the letter after awaiting a response from the prime minister for nearly seven months, but in vain.

The letter written by NSCN-IM general secretary Thuingaleng Muivah had been critical of Nagaland Governor RN Ravi, the interlocutor between the government and militant organisations, and had reiterated its demand for a separate Naga flag and constitution.

“Seven (7) months back, Muivah (general secretary Thuingaleng Muivah) dispatched a letter to the Prime Minister of India. We deliberately withheld the letter from releasing to the media for public consumption as we waited with all confidence that the Prime Minister of India will respond positively. Today, NSCN(IM) being accountable to the Naga people hereby released the letter to inform of the delay and the lack of response from the office of the Indian Prime Minister to our people,” read the statement by NSCN(IM) as quoted by NDTV.

Related news: Naga group camps in Delhi, says separate flag, constitution must for peace deal

The peace talks held in New Delhi has hit a deadlock over the Naga outfit’s trust issues with Ravi and its demands for a separate Naga flag and constitution.

In the eight-page letter that was released on Monday, general secretary Thuingaleng Muivah said the recent visit of its members to Dimapur was questioned even though that was part of the peace process.

“The latest episode of the MHA, which through a missive to the Nagaland government, questioned our presence in Dimapur. We are in Nagaland to meet our own people vis-à-vis peace process…if our stay in India is no more welcome, all necessary arrangements must be made for us to leave India and the political talks be resumed in a third country,” Muivah wrote.

The leader was also critical of the activities of the National Investigation Agency (NIA) and Assam Rifles.

“Today, we bring to your notice matters of serious concern regarding the activities of the ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) and its agencies including NIA and Assam Rifles. As you are well aware, 22 years of political negotiation had started at the highest, i.e Prime minister-level talks without precondition and talks outside India in third countries. We had come to India on the invitation of the Government of India. We are totally shocked and surprised that even after more than two decades of political negotiation, the MHA and its agencies have become obnoxious,” he said.

The leader said the only way to salvage the talks now is to hold it at the prime minister-level, without pre-condition and in a third country.

Related news: Naga peace deal: Interlocutor’s tiff with militant outfit may delay pact

The letter also accused interlocutor Ravi of attempting to polarise the Naga society instead of uniting them. It warned the government that such actions by the interlocutor may jeopardise the peace process.

“It has come to our knowledge that the representative of the (government of India) has been hobnobbing with the so-called NNPGs (Naga national political groups) to make an agreement”, while leaving out “the main stakeholders including the Naga Hoho, Naga Mothers, Naga People’s Movement for Human Rights and Naga Students’ Federation,” the letter read.

 

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