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Nothing on inter-state borders in Naga framework agreement
R Dutta Choudhury
 NEW DELHI, Dec 7 - The framework agreement signed between the Government of India and National Socialist Council of Nagalim (I-M) only set the mutually agreed parameters under which the final agreement is being worked out for permanent political solution of the Naga political problem.

Highly placed sources in the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) told The Assam Tribune that the framework agreement, which was signed in presence of Prime Minister Narendra Modi on August 3, 2015, did not deal with any substantive or specific issues and “definitely it did not have anything to inter-state borders.” Sources said the framework agreement had to be signed as the then chairman of the NSCN(I-M), Isak Chishi Swu was sick and there was need for getting his stamp of approval on the broad parameters under which the final agreement would be worked out.

Sources asserted that some political parties and organisations were creating confusion in the minds of the people on the framework agreement for their political gains. Replying to a question as to why the framework agreement has not yet been made public, sources said that the stakeholders are fully aware of it and the government felt that there was no need to make it public as it contained only the basic parameters for the final agreement.

MHA sources asserted that the inter-state boundaries would not be touched while finalising the peace pact with the militant groups of Nagaland. The outfits were also categorically told that the Government of India would never change the inter-state boundaries, while the Union Home Minister himself informed the governments of the states having boundaries with Nagaland that the territories of any state would be affected. Even after such assurances, there is no reason for anyone to be apprehensive.

Sources asserted that Assam would not be affected in any way by the Naga peace talks. The inter-state boundary dispute between Assam and Nagaland is pending before the Supreme Court and it is not a matter of discussion. Moreover, there is hardly any Naga population in Assam , which is not the case in Manipur, where there is a sizeable Naga population, and the Centre may have to take some steps in consultation with the Manipur government for preservation of the cultural heritage of the Naga people living in the state.

Same is the case with two districts of Arunachal Pradesh and that is why the Centre and the Centre’s interlocutor for Naga talks held a series of meetings with the governments of both the states. However, in no case, the geographical territory of any state would be touched. When pointed out that miscreants from Nagaland are terrorising people of Assam living along the border with Nagaland, sources said that such incidents have been going on for years and the Assam Police can take action against any miscreant from Nagaland who crosses over to Assam to create trouble.

MHA sources further said that it is still not the time to give a deadline for signing of the final agreement for Naga political solution, but the decision of six other outfits to join the peace process is a very positive development. There was a time when the militant groups of Nagaland did not see eye to eye, but six other outfits joined hands to join the peace process. At one point of time, the NSCN(I-M) had threatened to walk out of the peace process if other outfits are involved. However, the NSCN(I-M) and the common body of six other outfits are yet to sit on the negotiation table together.

The government wants to go for an inclusive solution involving all the stakeholders and if the NSCN(K) also joins the peace process following pressure from the civil society, it would have a lasting impact on insurgency in the Northeast as the other rebel groups of the region would find it hard to survive in Myanmar without the support of the NSCN(K), sources added.

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