With no hopes of progress in talks between the NSCN-IM and the Government of India in the recent months, the outfit has released a letter written by General Secretary Thuingaleng Muivah to Prime Minister Narendra Modi on February 25.
The letter written back in February this year sought facilitation of talks outside India in a third country, besides being critical of the functioning of the Ministry of Home Affairs.
The NSCN-IM stated that it deliberately withheld the 8-page letter from the public as it waited for a response from the Prime Minister’s office. However, the outfit said the delay in response prompted it to release the letter as it is accountable to the Naga people.
The letter made clear that in given circumstances and in order to save the political dialogue, the talks should resume at Prime Minister level, without pre-condition, and outside India in a third country.
Muivah in the letter said, “If our stay in India is no more welcomed, all necessary arrangements must be made for us to leave India and the political talks be resumed in a third country.”
Stating that most of the important issues, except for the Naga flag and Naga constitution, have been already resolved, Muivah brought to Prime Minister Modi’s notice some matters of serious concern regarding the activities of the Ministry of Home Affairs, NIA and Assam Rifles. He said it was shocking and surprising that the Centre started branding and accusing the NSCN-IM members as ‘terrorists’.
The letter also discussed the role of Interlocutor RN Ravi, accusing him of polarizing the Naga society. Muivah stated that Ravi’s appointment as the Nagaland governor in 2019 was a deliberate deviation from his appointment as the representative of the government of India for the peace talks.
In the letter, Muivah also alleged that the representatives of the Government of India have been hobnobbing with the NNPGs to finalise 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 NSCN-IM letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi clearly indicates that sharp differences between the group and Governor RN Ravi had cropped almost soon after the talks officially ended in October last year. The release of the 7-month old letter may also be a result of no hopes of progress in talks in recent months.
Notably, the NSCN-IM has held more than 100 rounds of peace talks with the Centre within and outside the Country. In August 2015, the Government signed a Framework Agreement with the NSCN-IM. The Centre officially expanded the scope of talks with the NNPGs by signing a ‘Deed of Commitment’ in 2017. The NNPGs are seven Naga insurgent groups that are also holding talks with the Central Government, but separately.