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Nagaland’s Guv seeks to bring permanent peace to state

Last Updated: Sunday, October 11, 2009 - 11:17

New Delhi: Bringing permanent peace to Nagaland and pushing for a final deal with Naga insurgent groups to resolve the decades-old conflict will be the top priority of Nikhil Kumar, the newly-appointed governor of the militancy-hit state.

Kumar, a former Delhi Police Commissioner, said he is "excited" about the new assignment and would do "everything possible" in his capacity to create a conducive environment for resolving the vexed issue and bring permanent peace to the "beautiful state”.

"I met Prime Minister Manmohan Singh after my appointment and he told me that the Centre puts a very high priority to bring peace to Nagaland," Kumar said.

He will take over from Manipur Governor Gurbachan Jagat who is holding additional charge of Nagaland.

"To finalise the peace deal (with the NSCN) will be my top priority," he said, adding the Centre has given him the assignment taking into consideration his "experience".

Asked what will be his approach in pushing the peace talks with dominant Naga group NSCN-IM, Kumar said he would first like to educate himself about the problem.

"The Prime Minister while praising the people of Nagaland told me that they are very sensitive. I will keep this in mind and do whatever I could to ensure peace and harmony," Kumar said.

Union Home Ministry officials said the Centre was trying to bring all underground and tribal groups of Nagaland under a single roof and hammer out a new political and economic solution acceptable to all.

The package, which is likely to be ready and placed before the Naga groups by November, includes financial largesses, greater devolution of powers, special steps for the protection of Naga culture and heritage besides others.

The government will offer the package only after getting full assurance from militant groups like NSCN-IM, NSCN-K and other organisations such as Naga Hoho of coming under a single platform and showing readiness for negotiation.

Kumar`s appointment is seen as significant following the Centre`s decision to wind up the term of K Padmanabhaiah as interlocutor for talks with the Naga group NSCN-IM.

Padmanabhaiah, a former Union Home Secretary, has served as interlocutor for talks for a decade and his term ended in August.

The ceasefire between the NSCN-IM and the Centre completed 11 years and during this period, over 50 rounds of talks were held for finding an acceptable and honourable solution to the Naga conflict.

Bureau Report

First Published: Sunday, October 11, 2009 - 11:17
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