NSCN holds talks with new govt pointsman

Last Updated: Tuesday, March 2, 2010 - 22:51

New Delhi: In a fresh bid to solve the
vexed Naga issue, NSCN-IM on Tuesday held the first round of talks
with the government`s newly appointed pointsman R S Pandey
during which the group submitted a list of 30 demands that
includes sovereignty for Nagaland.

The meeting, held at undisclosed location, lasted for
about 90 minutes during which a NSCN-IM delegation led by its
general secretary Thuingaleng Muivah submitted their 30-point
demands, sources said.

The meeting, which was seen more as an "informal type",
as pointed out by a delegate at the meeting, was held to know
the new interlocutor who had helped Muivah in renewing his
expired passport, they said, adding another round will be held
tomorrow.

Pandey, while giving a patient hearing to the Naga
leaders, conveyed to them that there was no possibility of
sovereignty for Nagaland and the talks could be held around
granting more autonomy.

Pandey, a former petroleum secretary, was appointed as
the new pointsman on Naga talks on February 12 to succeed
former home secretary K Padmanabhaiah who was the interlocutor
for nearly a decade.

Among other issues in the charter demand, the NSCN-IM
pointed out certain taxation matters and preservation of
cultural heritage, the sources said.

Earlier, the Naga delegation paid courtesy calls to
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Union Home Minister P
Chidambaram.

Muivah, who along with four other Naga leaders arrived
here on February 27 from Amsterdam, met the Prime Minister at
his residence.

This is the second such meeting in the past five
years. Muivah along with the NSCN-IM chairman Isak Chisi Swu
had met Singh earlier during their visit in 2006.

Later, Muivah met Union Home Minister P Chidambaram
during which the two sides had a comprehensive discussion on
finding a lasting solution to the six-decades-old issue which
includes boundary dispute with neighbouring Manipur and Assam.

"We had a comprehensive discussion and the NSCN-IM
will continue the negotiation with the Government of India,"
Muivah told reporters after the meeting.

"If the Centre is serious then we will talk," he said.
Asked whether the organisation was happy over Pandey`s
appointment, Muivah said, "The government of India has
confidence in him. So we will talk to him. But if the talks do
not yield any result then we will say no."

Besides Chidambaram, others present at the hour-long
meeting were Home Secretary GK Pillai and Special Secretary
(Internal Security) U K Bansal.

Muivah, along with Swu, had last visited India in
December 2006 and held talks with government leaders. He is
expected to visit Nagaland later.

A ceasefire was agreed upon with NSCN-IM in August
1997. In May 1998, the Union government had appointed Swaraj
Kaushal as the first negotiator. He continued in his post till
July 1999.

PTI



First Published: Tuesday, March 2, 2010 - 22:51

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