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Naga outfits ask legislators to clear stand on peace process

twitter-logo PTI        Last Updated: October 28, 2019  | 17:32 IST

(Eds: recasts intro, minor edits) Kohima, Oct 28 (PTI) Ahead of another round of Naga peace talks, a grouping of seven Naga outfits which is pushing for an early solution to the decades-old Naga crisis has urged elected representatives to avoid a "neutral stand" and make clear their position. Noting that the the Centre was keen on finding a solution, the grouping called Naga National Political Groups (NNPG) made the appeal to the elected representatives in a statement released by its media cell on Sunday night. The NNPG has been holding separate talks with the Centre since 2017. The National Socialist Council of Nagaland, Isak-Muivah (NSCN-IM), which signed a framework agreement with the Centre in August 2015, is insisting on a separate flag and Constitution despite the government's rejection of their demand. Nagaland Governor R N Ravi, who is also Centre's interlocutor, is due to hold talks with the NSCN-IM in Delhi, in efforts to find an early solution to the Naga crisis. Ravi had said on October 19 that 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 it was fully aware of the Government of India's position". In the statement, the NNPG asserted that the elected representatives of Nagaland should not be maintaining a neutral stand on the matter, now that the government was keen on finding a solution. "Unresolved matters should be decided through political and democratic process... The position and status of elected representatives of Nagaland cannot remain lukewarm They cannot choose to hide behind the boulders blocking the way," it said. The Centre had set a deadline for conclusion of peace talks in the wake of the Naga society's demand for an early solution to the six-decade-old issue, the statement said. "It is time for political parties in Nagaland to clear their stand in the interest of the Naga people... If the political parties of Nagaland fail in their constitutional duties and obligations, they should resign and allow the Election Commission of India to derecognise the parties," the NNPG, which has seven Naga organisations as its members, added. The statement came two days after a senior NSCN-IM leader, along with 16 others, quit the rebel group accusing it of being "insensitive" to the people's plea for an honourable solution to the Naga issue, and joined the NNPG. Claiming that their future of Naga generations must not be jeopardised by unresolved symbolic issues, Hukavi Yeputhomi of the NNPG said the working committee of the grouping had been more "practical and realistic" in its negotiations with the Centre. A coalition of Nationalist Democratic Progressive Party (NDPP) and the BJP is in power in Nagaland. Naga People's Front (NPF) headed by former chief minister TR Zeliang is the main opposition party in the state. PTI NBS RMS SNS GSN GSN GSN

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